Zurich: FIFA executive committee member Reynald Temarii acknowledged he made a mistake talking with undercover reporters about deals for his World Cup hosting vote, but defended his own integrity.
Temarii told a leading news agency that he met FIFA president Sepp Blatter yesterday to ask him to launch an ethics investigation, after the London Sunday Times filmed him saying he wanted NZ Dollar 3 million (USD 2.3 million) to fund a football academy in Auckland, New Zealand.
FIFA`s independent ethics panel is scheduled to discuss his case on Wednesday, the Oceania Football Confederation president said.
"I`m confident about my integrity but I made a mistake by talking in that way," Temarii said in an interview at a Zurich hotel. "I asked the FIFA president to investigate. I gave him a letter. It`s important for me that the ethics committee investigates how I manage my relations with bidders."
Blatter has promised an "in-depth investigation` into allegations that Temarii, from Tahiti, and Nigerian FIFA executive member Amos Adamu offered to sell their votes in a poll scheduled Dec. 2 to decide which countries will host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022.
In an open latter to his colleagues on FIFA`s 24-man executive panel which will choose the hosts, Blatter said the Sunday Times` allegation is a "very unpleasant situation" for football`s governing body.
"The information in the article has created a very negative impact on FIFA and on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups," Blatter said.
Temarii, who joined the executive committee when elected to lead world football`s smallest region in 2004, declined to give details of his meeting with Blatter at FIFA headquarters.
"Life is still going on," said the 43-year-old Temarii, a former professional player in France. "It`s up to the ethics committee to judge me and my integrity."
Blatter said the investigation will be conducted by the ethics panel working together with secretary general Jerome Valcke, but made no mention if the Dec. 2 poll could be delayed for FIFA to conduct its probe.
Chuck Blazer, the American member of FIFA`s executive committee, said he did not think the vote in Zurich would need to be postponed.
"We should deal with it within the timeframe established," Blazer said.
"We want to keep the issues separate and it`s important we conclude the World Cup decision. There is no reason why we shouldn`t. The
investigation can be done right away."
The Sunday Times reporters filmed Adamu and Temarii asking for money to fund projects while posing as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies who wanted to help bring the World Cup back to the United States. No money changed hands.