World Cup - FIFA's Blazer denies bias claim

Tue, 07 Jun 16:24:00 2011

Chuck Blazer, the man who blew the whistle on an alleged bribery scandal, has dismissed claims of a FIFA/USA conspiracy, insisting: "The only things that were American in all this were the 100-dollar bills."

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Private investigators hired by FIFA's ethics committee have began to interview the heads of Caribbean federations at the centre of the scandal - however, it appears as many as 18 of the 25 associations have refused to attend the summons to Miami, Florida.

Blazer, the USA's FIFA member who first brought the allegations to the attention of the world governing body, said: "To say there is an American conspiracy is nonsense. The only things that were American in this were the $100 bills."

He added: "I am nothing to do with the investigation. If national associations do not respond to FIFA's summons that's up to FIFA to deal with it."

One association has complained to FIFA that the investigation is "biased" towards the USA - one of the defeated bids for the 2022 World Cup - and has called for ex-FBI director Louis Freeh to be replaced as lead investigator.

The probe is looking into claims the 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union were each paid $40,000 (in four packs of $100 bills each totalling $10,000 ) to vote for Mohamed Bin Hammam as FIFA president.

FIFA's ethics committee have summoned all 25 associations to the interviews in Miami to be questioned about claims they were given the money as a bribe by Bin Hammam and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner at a meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11.

Bin Hammam, Warner and two Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials have been suspended pending the outcome of the probe, which is likely to be completed in mid-July.

The letter of complaint to FIFA president Sepp Blatter by a Caribbean federation chairman read: "The investigation is tainted and biased and clearly has a US-driven agenda. I write to expose what can now be confirmed as attempts at intimidation and terrorisation by forces who wish to divide and destroy the 30-year history of the CFU."

The letter asks Blatter to replace Freeh with a "truly independent investigator and secure a neutral venue for the interview of any Caribbean Football Union member other than the USA".

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