By Ray Fleming

FIFA -- Federation Internationale de Football Association -- is a strange organisation. Not only does it have difficulty in taking action on ghost goals that may or may not have crossed the goal line, it also seems to have a problem in drawing conclusions from evidence put before it on ethical matters. Yesterday it found two international members of its executive committee guilty of bribery and offences against “general conduct and loyalty” -- while also finding the newspaper which had provided the critical evidence against them guilty of “sensationalism”. The committee members were Amos Adamu and Reynald Temaril who were both caught in a video sting by the Sunday Times soliciting financial favours in return for agreeing to vote for America's bid to hold the 2022 World Cup. They were suspended from membership of FIFA's executive committee and given substantial fines.

It might have been thought that FIFA would have expressed its gratitude to the Sunday Times for uncovering behaviour which the chairman of FIFA's ethics committee, Claudio Sulser, said had created “very great damage” to the governing body of world football. Instead he said about the newspaper: “What I can't tolerate is that they changed the sentences, they changed the way they presented the truth.” Perhaps Mr Sulser's meaning was lost in translation but as it stands it is difficult to know why his committee would take such drastic action if it was not satisfied with the way the newspaper “presented the truth”.


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