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Report: Soccer Execs Given Bribes

March 28, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ Senior FIFA officials were bombarded with lavish gifts from Japanese and South Koreans to influence their votes during bidding for the 2002 World Cup, a report said Sunday.

According to the Sunday Times, the gifts, such as laptop computers and video cameras, were part of the ``aggressive lobbying″ by the two candidates who wound up co-hosting the event anyway.

``It was an attempt to influence us,″ David Will, a Scottish lawyer who is a FIFA vice president, was quoted as saying.

``It was small beer compared with the International Olympic Committee,″ he said in a reference to the IOC’s Salt Lake City scandal. ``But it was a clear attempt to influence and for this reason we said, `No more.′ ″

According to the Sunday Times, Will received a laptop personal computer worth about $1,670 from the South Koreans and a video camera from the Japanese worth about $1,170.

Chuck Blazer, a New Yorker who is the secretary general of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football and joined FIFA’s executive committee last year, was reported to have said the practice was widespread although he did not receive any gifts.

``Members of the last executive committee received laptop computers, cameras and things of that nature, which were by and large products of the countries that were doing the bidding,″ he told the Sunday Times.

``It was deemed to be excessive from the viewpoint of proper hospitality. It wasn’t something that was given to one of two people, it was given across the board to everyone.″

The latest allegations come after suggestions that a Middle Eastern figure bribed 20 FIFA representatives to buy votes in last year’s presidential election.

It was reported that the payments were intended to help Sepp Blatter defeat UEFA president Lennart Johansson. It was not suggested that Blatter, who won the election, was involved.

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