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Thursday, October 21, 2010
Committee member denies wrongdoing

LONDON -- FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu denied any wrongdoing in a World Cup vote-selling scandal on Thursday, despite being provisionally suspended from duty. The Nigerian official issued a statement to "wholly refute all allegations made" by British newspaper The Sunday Times, which alleged Adamu and fellow FIFA ruling executive member Reynald Temarii offered to sell their votes for funding toward soccer projects. Adamu said he supported an ongoing investigation by FIFA's ethics panel that on Wednesday suspended the two officials until it next meets in mid-November. Adamu was filmed by undercover reporters posing as lobbyists telling them he wanted $800,000 to build four soccer fields in Nigeria, and for the money to be paid to him directly. "Whilst I wholly refute all allegations made, I fully support the inquiry since it is important that these claims are thoroughly investigated," Adamu said in his statement. "Only by doing this will FIFA -- and the wider football community -- be able to trust that its appointed representatives are beyond reproach." FIFA's 24-member executive committee will select the hosts of the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 in a secret ballot on Dec. 2 in Zurich. FIFA has not yet made clear how the vote will proceed if Adamu's and Temarii's suspensions are extended beyond polling day. "I have yet to present my position to those investigating this matter," Adamu said. "However I am confident that my actions, the full and true extent of which were not detailed in the story published, will demonstrate not only my innocence and integrity, but also my commitment to football and to FIFA." Adamu, a 57-year-old former physical education teacher and Nigerian sports minister, joined FIFA's executive committee in 2006. "Since investigations are not yet complete, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further and I will not do so until FIFA's final conclusion is made public," he said.