|The scandal came weeks before Russia and Qatar were awarded World Cup hosting rights in December 2010 [GETTY]|
Former FIFA official Amos Adamu lost his appeal against a three-year ban from football for seeking bribes during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Friday upheld a judgment by FIFA’s ethics committee to expel Adamu from football until October 2013.
The panel even said the ban “was relatively mild given the seriousness of the offence.”
“The CAS Panel stressed that it was of crucial importance that top football officials should not only be honest but should evidently and undoubtedly be seen to be honest,” the court said.
Adamu was secretly filmed by British undercover reporters from Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper asking for $800,000 to influence his World Cup vote. He said the money would pay for artificial fields in his native Nigeria.
CAS said it rejected Adamu’s argument that the evidence was inadmissible because it might have been illegally obtained.
Instead, the panel stated that “there has been no ordinary judge declaring that the evidence was unlawfully obtained and prohibiting its use and that it was even not sure that the Sunday Times journalists acted illegally.”
The scandal implicated Adamu and five other senior officials, and plunged FIFA into turmoil weeks before the December 2010 votes.
Adamu was stripped of his votes and lost his seat representing Africa on the FIFA executive committee.
Until the bribery scandal, the former Nigerian government adviser was expected to be a strong candidate to succeed Issa Hayatou as president of the 54-nation Confederation of African Football.
Adamu was also ordered to pay FIFA a fine of $11,100.
Adamu’s case was the first time a CAS panel has scrutinised FIFA’s code of ethics.
The code was used by FIFA to ban Mohamed bin Hammam from football for life last year, after the former presidential candidate was judged to have arranged bribes for voters in the Caribbean.
Bin Hammam will challenge FIFA at CAS on April 18-19 to try to overturn his expulsion.
CAS is preparing verdicts in two more cases of alleged FIFA corruption by former executive committee members.
Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi of Tonga both appealed their two-year sanctions based on Sunday Times evidence.
They allegedly advised reporters posing as lobbyists how to bribe FIFA officials and to pay $1 million.