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FIFA Admits World Cup Collusion but Presses On

Now that FIFA's investigation has uncovered collusion among its ranks, it can proceed with the selection process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Sort of.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Friday that the secret ballot at its headquarters can move on with "all doubts cast aside."

"Now we go ahead and (the vote) will be good," he said after an emergency session of the executive committee.

Two voters and four other officials were suspended and Qatar and Spain-Portugal were cleared of striking a votes deal.

Still, Blatter said collusion among voters was inevitable. He did not dispel suggestions that a Qatari-Iberian pact alleged by a British newspaper was in place, instead stating that FIFA's ethics committee could not prove it.

"They had not enough evidence. They haven't said it's 'blanco'," he said, using a word meaning whiter than white. "You cannot avoid collusion but if in such collusion there should be something wrong, then naturally somebody would intervene."

Blatter said it was obvious his executive committee colleagues discussed the contests because eight of the 22 eligible voters represent candidates. England, Russia, Belgium-Holland and Spain-Portugal are competing to host the 2018 World Cup. The 2022 contest involves the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.

But he said they "heard and understood" his message that the entire world was watching FIFA.

Blatter confirmed that suspended voters Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii will not be replaced by their continental confederations because both men are appealing their sanctions.

Nigeria's Adamu drew a three-year ban from all soccer activity for five violations of FIFA's ethics code, including agreeing to take bribes from the undercover reporters who posed as lobbyists trying to buy votes.

Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, the president of Oceania's confederation, was suspended for one year for breaching FIFA's loyalty and confidentiality rules when he was secretly filmed in the newspaper sting.

Four former FIFA executive committee members also were suspended for a total of 12 years based on bribery allegations published by the newspaper.

Slim Aloulou, a Tunisian lawyer who chaired FIFA's disputes panel, received a two-year sanction. FIFA referees committee member Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi from Tonga were suspended for three years, and Botswana's Ismail Bhamjee got a four-year ban.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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