• Football

FIFA aware of Warner reports

ESPN staff
March 21, 2014
FIFA president Sepp Blatter refused to comment on the latest claims © Getty Images

FIFA has confirmed that investigators from its ethics committee are aware of the latest allegations of payments between former executive committee members.

The Daily Telegraph reported this week that the FBI is investigating payments from a company owned by Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam to Jack Warner and his family.

Both men left FIFA in disgrace following a 2011 corruption scandal.

A statement from chief investigator Michael Garcia was read out at a news conference in Zurich.

"The ethics committee is aware of the material identified in the article. As with all allegations of misconduct the ethics committee will take whatever actions it feels appropriate."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter refused to comment on the latest claims, adding: "I am happy now that we have an independent committee for ethics and this is now to be dealt with by this committee."

Blatter may however make a personal visit to 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar over the issue of the treatment of migrant workers.

Meanwhile, FIFA's secretary general Jerome Valcke said he hopes for positive news from this year's World Cup hosts Brazil over two stadiums, in Sao Paulo and Porto Alegre, which have experienced severe delays.

Valcke will have a meeting with tournament organisers in Rio de Janeiro on Monday and he said: "We are 80 days away from the World Cup and people in the two locations with the main issues - Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo - have said that we should receive some positive information. The main concerns should disappear, and we should feel (we are in a) more comfortable situation by next week."

He added: "Ticket sales and hospitality sales are a great success -- it is more than we have done in the past."

FIFA also revealed it had record revenues of $1.38 billion (£849m) and a surplus of $72 million (£43m), leaving it with reserves of $1.4bn (£850m).

But Valcke warned: "We still have to face the most important time and the final cost of the World Cup is not yet clear."

Also, FIFA's top financial watchdog says he will keep a close eye on everyone in next year's presidential election.

Domenico Scala told The Associated Press a grant like the $1m Blatter awarded CONCACAF in May 2011 could now provoke an ethics investigation.

Scala, who has chaired FIFA's modernised audit panel since 2012, says "that would not work anymore."

The Swiss industrialist cautions against candidates promising money to continental and national bodies without FIFA development committee approval.

Four years ago, FIFA gave $144.4m in "extraordinary payments" from World Cup profits. Blatter's opponent, Mohamed bin Hammam, pledged to double annual grants.

Scala says "that will not be possible" before the May 2015 vote.

Potential candidates include Blatter, UEFA pPresident Michel Platini and former FIFA official Jerome Champagne.

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