Bribery allegation over FIFA poll
LONDON, England -- FIFA president Sepp Blatter's campaign for the top post in world football was blighted by bribery, a senior official with the African Football Confederation (CAF) has alleged.
Farah Addo, who is vice-president of the CAF and president of the Somalian football association, has told a British newspaper investigation into the elections that he was offered $100,000 for his vote.
Although he refused the offer, he alleged: "Eighteen African voters accepted bribes to vote for Blatter."
Blatter, who is seeking re-election on May 29 in Seoul on the eve of the World Cup finals, was elected as successor to Joao Havelange in 1998 after beating Lennart Johansson, president of Europe's governing body UEFA, by 111 votes to 80.
Addo makes it clear to the newspaper that while he believes some of those who ran Blatter's campaign were involved, Blatter himself was not.
He added: "But I can say that the people behind him tried to corrupt Africa."
It is also made clear that not all those who voted for Blatter accepted bribes.
Although Johansson described the claims as "rumours," UEFA said the newspaper report contained "serious allegations" and has called for an inquiry.
A FIFA spokesman in Geneva, Switzerland, told CNN that it was "well aware about the Daily Mail article" but that Blatter was unavailable for a comment.
He said: "The president is on an aeroplane from Tokyo and is due back here later today. Until we have spoken we can not issue any statement."
Addo told the London-based Daily Mail on Thursday: "We at CAF had decided to commit all 51 of our votes to Lennart Johansson from UEFA.
"Then I received a phone call from Somalia's ambassador to one of the Gulf states.
"He said: `I have a friend who you know who wants to offer you $100,000 to switch your vote. Half in cash and the rest in sports equipment.' They would send the cash to me or I could go to the Gulf to collect it."
Addo added: "The night before the election people were lining up in Le Meridien Hotel (in Paris) to receive money.
"Some told me they got $5,000 before the vote and the same the next day, after Blatter won.
"I made my own private investigation and found that 18 African voters accepted bribes to vote for Blatter."
Mohiadin Hassan Ali, vice-president of the Somalian association, told the Daily Mail: "We accepted money to vote on behalf of Somalia FA for JS Blatter in the FIFA presidential election in Paris."
Johansson told Reuters: "I have heard these stories for four years. I don't have to behave like a bad loser or listen to rumours.
"If someone has proof then they should bring it into the open. When that day comes, I will make a statement."
Mike Lee, communications director of UEFA, said an inquiry was needed into the fresh allegations.
He told the UK Press Association: "These are serious allegations which will have to be looked into.
"There is also a need for an investigation into the current state of FIFA's finances and management and these will be the subject of an extraordinary meeting of the FIFA executive committee next week.
"We hope that answers will be given."
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