FIFA SG reported to ethics chiefs over World Cup bid


One of FIFA’s most senior executives, Fatma Samoura, has been reported to the organisation’s powerful ethics committee.

Samoura, who was appointed secretary general of football’s world governing body by its president Gianni Infantino in 2016, is accused of alleged breaches of its ethics code relating to “duty of disclosure, co-operation and reporting” and “conflicts of interest”.

The claims stem from allegations relating to Morocco’s bid to host the 2026 World Cup. The North African country wants to host the tournament, but is up against a North American joint effort comprising Canada, the USA and Mexico.

Members of a FIFA World Cup evaluation taskforce – which recently visited the bidding countries – are said to have discovered an undeclared family link between Samoura – whose full name is Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura – and the former Liverpool forward El Hadji Diouf, who is working in an ambassadorial role for the Moroccan bid.

Both Samoura, 55, and Diouf are from Senegal. They are both now the subject of an ethics complaint.

A senior FIFA source has told BBC Sport the allegation is “tenuous”, while Samoura said she is “fully aware of this upcoming complaint” and has “a good idea who is conveying this message”.

She added: “The whole country of Senegal will laugh at FIFA Ethics… because everyone in my country knows the origin of El Hadji Diouf.”

The same senior source, who wishes to remain anonymous, also alleges Infantino “encouraged” the evaluation taskforce to find evidence that could block Morocco’s candidacy.

It is claimed Infantino was motivated to do this as he favours the rival North American bid given the enormous financial advantage it has over its African rival.

FIFA’s response

In response to the allegation a FIFA spokesperson told BBC Sport: “The bidding process for the 2026 FIFA World Cup has been designed to evaluate the bids against objective criteria and so avoid a return to the secret and subjective decisions of the past.

“The process is as fair, objective and transparent as it can get as demonstrated with the publication of the bid books, all bidding documents and the scoring system.

“The taskforce’s assessment is guided by clear and objective criteria and its report will be made public to guarantee full transparency of the process. The FIFA president is not involved in this process and he will not take part in the vote of the congress. These are facts and not ‘maybe’ or gossip.

“FIFA has been heavily criticised for how it conducted the selection of hosts in the past. It was our obligation to learn from this and leave no room for any doubt or subjectivity.

“Anyone criticising this approach should be able to say if they would prefer a return to the old ways.

“Allegations of a defamatory nature are unacceptable, especially when they come in a middle of a bidding process when calm, sense of responsibility and respect should prevail.” (BBC Sport)

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