IOC Chief Urges FIFA Crackdown on Corruption; Beckenbauer Boosts Australian bid

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Jacques Rogge wants FIFA to take tough action in the bid scandal (Getty)
(WFI) International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge is calling for FIFA to take a hard line against corruption in the World Cup bid contest in what is seen as football's equivalent of the IOC's Salt Lake City bribery crisis.

Rogge said FIFA president Sepp Blatter rang him after two executive committee members, Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, were caught up in the cash-for-votes bid scandal. They were suspended last week pending a full investigation by FIFA's ethics committee, which is also examining allegations that bids from Qatar and Spain-portugal colluded to trade votes.

"He [Blatter] was so kind to call me when the whole issue emerged and he kept me informed about what he had done and the decision that had been taken by FIFA," Rogge told reporters following an IOC Executive Board meeting in Acapulco, Mexico yesterday.

"I encouraged him to do exactly what he has done and to try to clean out as much as possible."

In an open letter to the 24 members of the FIFA Ex-co last week, Blatter described the bribery scandal as "a very unpleasant situation", telling them that the Sunday Times revelations had "created a very negative impact on FIFA and on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups".

Rogge yesterday used similar words to describe the IOC's 1999 Salt Lake City scandal, as he urged FIFA to do as the IOC did in expelling corrupt members. Ten IOC members were sacked for accepting gifts of cash and other inducements. Ethics reforms followed and included a ban on members visiting cities bidding for the summer or winter Olympics.

"I think the IOC took the right conclusions on something that was very unpleasant," Rogge told the press conference.

"We did everything we could and I'm sure the IOC came out of the crisis as a better and more transparent organisation and I hope that will also be the case for my friends in sport (FIFA)."

Last Sunday, FIFA's problems were exacerbated with fresh allegations about corrupt Ex-co members from its former general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen in the Sunday Times. He alleged that two FIFA Ex-co members were prepared to accept bribes in exchange for their
Australia 2022 CEO Ben Buckley pitched the country's bid at the International Football Arena conference in Zurich yesterday (Getty)
votes for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.

"Der Kaiser" boosts Australian bid
Germany's FIFA Ex-co member Franz Beckenbauer believes Australia's major event experience is a huge plus in its quest to land the 2022 World Cup.

In an interview with Fox Sports, Beckenbauer said: "Australia was a perfect host for the Olympics. They know how to handle these big events.

"The football World Cup - it's even bigger than the Olympics because it's more cities, it's more spectacular than the Olympics - I think you can do it.

"There is no doubt that Australia can host the World Cup and organise the World Cup."

He said Australia had a tough job to see off the challenge from rivals bids Japan, Qatar, South Korea and the USA.

"It's a tough competition, but Australia, I think, has a good chance to host the World Cup. I hope so."

Beckenbauer's vote for Australia seems assured. He played a pivotal role in persuading Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy that Holger Osieck was the best man to replace Pim Verbeek as the Socceroos new coach. Osieck was Beckenbauer's assistant coach when he led Germany to win the 1990 World Cup.

Beckenbauer insisted Australia's 2022 campaign was unaffected by bid bribery scandal. "I think the Australian bidding process is in a very good way," he added.

For Ben Buckley, CEO of the Australian bid, it was business as usual on the campaign trail yesterday.

Speaking at the International Football Arena conference in Zurich, he said hosting the World Cup would "put a turbo charger on the growth of the game" and leave a significant legacy.

Buckley promised delegates a 'no worries' World Cup and said that the 2022 tournament offered huge benefits for both the Asian and Pacific regions.

The suspension of Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Temarii from FIFA's ruling executive board is a significant blow for the Australian bid, if he is ultimately banned from the Dec. 2 vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.

Temarii has backed Australia from the bid launch.

But Buckley said only that his bid team was keeping its focus on promoting Australia's credentials in the coming five weeks of the bid race.

"There is a process in place to deal with it, we have faith in the process and we will react accordingly," he was quoted by the Australian Associated Press.

By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson

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