FIFA world Cup vote unlikely to be delayed, says Blazer

London: FIFA is unlikely to delay its decision on which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups following a report into alleged vote-selling, FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer said on Sunday.

Blazer, speaking in a telephone interview with Reuters from his home in New York, said he expected FIFA`s Ethics Committee to deal with the allegations very quickly and saw no reason why FIFA would put back a decision scheduled for Dec. 2 in Zurich.

"The Ethics Committee will address these issues directly and it should not take them very long to ascertain all the facts," Blazer said.

"The date of December 2 was chosen specifically ahead of the `political season` of congresses and elections, and I see no reason why this would be delayed," he said.

"The investigation can start right away. There is no reason why it couldn`t."

FIFA said late on Saturday it would investigate the report in the Sunday Times newspaper that two members of its executive committee had offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 World Cup.

The newspaper said the offers had been made to its reporters who were working undercover and posed as lobbyists for a consortium of American private companies.

The report said Nigeria`s Amos Adamu was filmed asking for money for a personal project and that Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Temarii from Tahiti wanted money for a sports academy.

Blazer told reporters: "I cannot comment on these cases individually of course, but what I will say is up to now I have met with five different bidding committees and in some cases visited their countries -- England, Russia, Belgium/Holland, Japan and the United States.

"All the bidders I have met have been totally professional in their presentations, not alluding to any other types of benefits and I think that needs to be said."

"They were simply trying to offer the best World Cup proposals."

"I don`t think people should get the wrong impression of the FIFA process either. On the contrary, it was not as if journalists have been monitoring a bid that seemed dubious in any way, but they have created a scam, a trap."

"However, it is up to FIFA individuals to be vigilant at all times."

"I do not think there is anything wrong with the voting procedure. We have come to expect it to be carried out morally and ethically based on good judgement and on what has been presented by a bidding committee."

"Also, by having a small body decide where the World Cup will be held, you also can identify the people responsible for choosing the World Cup venue -- the executive committee -- because they are the same people responsible for making it work."

Blazer said he did not expect there to be a negative reaction to England`s bid, just because the story was published in London.

"Just because an English newspaper has done this story, I do not expect there to be an English backlash in the executive committee. What if it had been in a Spanish paper, do you think that would damage the Spanish bid. I don`t think so."

The decision will be made by the 24-man executive committee, although a source close to the executive, who asked not to be named, said both Adamu and Temarii could find themselves suspended or off the committee by then if the claims against them are substantiated.

"FIFA will not allow anyone or anything to damage the reputation of the voting procedure and it could be that 22 men might make the decision, not 24," the source said.

England and Russia are bidding for the 2018 finals along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands.

The candidates for 2022 are the United States, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and Australia.

Bureau Report