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Dutch FA opens 2018 World Cup bid up to FIFA Ethics Committee probe

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) has announced that it will submit itself to an investigation by FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee after allegations of bribery were made against its unsuccessful joint bid with Belgium to host the 2018 World Cup.

The KNVB has also ordered an independent audit into the bid, which was hit by corruption claims in a report by Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant this month.

That publication’s article claimed the paper was in possession of documents showing bid organisers paid €10,000 to Amadou Dialllo in 2009, at a time when the lobbyist was affiliated with now disgraced former FIFA vice-president Mohamed bin Hammam.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the KNVB said its legal team had found no evidence of wrongdoing after studying documentation related to the 2018 bid, although it added it would wait for further information from the Royal Belgian Football Association (URBSFA/KBVB) “to get a total picture”.

The statement read: “The federal administration of the KNVB, at a meeting on Wednesday, December 16 decided to give a forensic accountant to audit the HollandBelgiumBid. 

“[This is] following an article on December 12 in De Volkskrant, in which the actions of the KNVB and the Belgian Football Association in an attempt to bring the 2018 World Cup to the Low Countries, is discussed in detail. 

“All available documents have been taken out in the open and further studied by lawyers and controllers of the union. Based on this fact reconstruction… no violation occurred. 

“To get the complete picture, the KNVB [is] still awaiting information from the Belgian FA. Furthermore, the KNVB will turn to the ethics committee of FIFA, which previously evaluated the HollandBelgiumBid… as a result of the research integrity of the American researcher [former chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Michael] Garcia.

“[To ensure] completeness and accuracy the KNVB wants this to be checked by an external audit firm. It is expected that this process will be completed in the first quarter of 2016. When the independent investigation is completed, the KNVB will report.”

Russia won the hosting rights to the 2018 World Cup and the bidding processes for this and the 2022 tournament in Qatar are being examined by Swiss and US prosecutors.

Tue 22 Dec, 2015
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