SANDTON, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 07: Joseph S. Blatter, President of FIFA (C) and Jerome Valcke (L), Secretary General of FIFA with Nicholas Maingot of FIFA talk to the media at a Post-FIFA Congress Executive Committee media conference at the Sandton Sun Hotel on June 7, 2010 in Sandton, South Africa. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
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Two high ranking officials possessing votes toward FIFA's December 2 decision on 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts have been caught offering to exchange their votes for donations, The Sunday Times has uncovered (reported here, by the BBC). FIFA, soccer's world governing body, has opened an investigation into the claims, saying they have requested all relevant materials concerning the matter.
The scandal came to light as a result of a Times sting, with reporters posing as lobbyists seeking to bring the World Cup to the United States. Nigerian Amos Adamu, a member of FIFA's executive committee, told the group he sought money to build soccer fields in his home country, saying such investment would positively influence how he would vote. Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Termarii sought a similar outlay with the goal of building an academy. Both actions would be against FIFA rules.
Hosting responsibilities for the 2018 World Cup has come down to four European bids. England is seen by many as the favorite, while many close to the process feel Russia's bid could have the inside track. Far behind the front runners, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands have each submitted duel-hosting bids.
The field for the 2022 event is being dominated by the United States' bid, though submissions from Australia and Qatar have also garnered widespread attention. Japan and South Korea are also hoping to bring the World Cup back to Asia, each country submitted individual bids after co-hosting the 2002 event.