The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Amos Adamu has 'no grudge' as 3-year ban for seeking bribes for World Cup vote expires
Former FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu holds "no grudge," he said a day after his three-year ban for seeking bribes to influence World Cup voting expired and he was able to work in football again.
Adamu was one of a number of high-level FIFA officials caught up in corruption allegations around the fiercely-criticized votes that selected Russia and Qatar as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively, and left the world football body badly damaged by scandal in late 2010.
The Nigerian, whose ban ended Sunday, told The Associated Press on Monday "I can only thank God it is over," but wouldn't comment on if he would return to football or try to run again for either a role with FIFA or the Confederation of African Football, where he also was a member of the executive committee.
"I hold no grudge against anyone," Adamu said in a telephone interview before declining to answer further questions. "No comments now."
Adamu was filmed in a British newspaper sting three years ago asking undercover reporters posing as bidders for $800,000 to influence his World Cup hosting vote, saying he wanted the money paid to him personally so he could finance football fields in Nigeria. He was suspended and not allowed to take part in the December 2010 votes, was ultimately banned for three years by FIFA and failed in two appeals against his sanction.
When the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his second appeal and upheld his ban in 2012, a three-member panel at sport's highest legal authority said his punishment was "even relatively mild given the seriousness of the offence."
Although Adamu wouldn't give any detail on his future plans to the AP after serving his ban, the former high-ranking Nigerian government sports official was reported in the media in his home country as considering pursuing a career in "sports business" rather than football administration.
As well as being a member of FIFA's top decision-making executive committee, Adamu also was once considered a leading candidate to succeed long-serving Issa Hayatou as president of the Confederation of African Football. Hayatou, from Cameroon, won what he said would be a final term in charge of African football this year.
The Sunday Times bribery scandal three years ago implicated Adamu and five other officials in corrupt behaviour and plunged FIFA into turmoil weeks before the votes to choose the countries to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. FIFA has since conceded that holding the two votes at the same time was a mistake, and also has changed its rules and taken the vote to decide who should win the right to host the money-spinning top tournament out of the hands of the exclusive executive committee.
FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia also is looking into further allegations in a report by The Sunday Times that Adamu's son, Samson, was paid $1 million by Qatar's World Cup bid team to host a lavish dinner in South Africa before the 2010 World Cup.
In a statement, the Qatar 2022 Bid Committee confirmed that there were discussions and an agreement drafted but they did not pursue involvement in the "African Legends Dinner" and no agreement was signed or payments made.
Follow Gerald Imray at www.twitter.com/GeraldImrayAP
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