ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA president Sepp Blatter distanced himself from his executive committee on Tuesday, saying he did not choose them and could not say whether they were angels or devils.
His remarks came after former English football association chairman David Triesman accused four FIFA executive committee members — Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi — of asking for favours in return for their votes for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
“I am the president and I have my own conscience, I can only answer for myself, I cannot answer for the members of my committee,” Blatter, who stands for re-election at the FIFA Congress on June 1, told reporters.
“They are not elected by the same Congress that I am elected, they are coming from the others (elsewhere), so I can not say they are all angels or all devils.”
Two members of the 24-man executive committee — Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii — were suspended before December’s World Cup vote for allegedly offering to sell their votes to undercover reporters from the Sunday Times newspaper.
Only the executive committee votes on World Cup hosts.
“There is a new round of information, give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said,” Blatter added.
“I repeat, we must have the evidence and we will react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules.”
“Zero tolerance is going through FIFA, it is one of the items on the Congress,” Blatter added. “It is my battle horse, I’m fighting to clear FIFA but only when we have evidence.
“I was shocked when I saw this.”
FIFA Secretary-general Jerome Valcke said the governing body had been very clear about what was considered ethical behaviour during World Cup voting.
“We will be asking for evidence or any information. We sent a letter to all exco members on what they can or cannot do so we were very clear from day one,” he said.
Triesman was giving evidence on Tuesday to a British parliamentary inquiry into the reasons why England failed in its bid to secure the 2018 World Cup which was awarded to Russia.
Qatar was awarded the 2022 finals in the same vote.
Members are voted onto the FIFA executive committee by their own confederations but Blatter, as part of his re-election bid, said last month he would consider making the whole FIFA Congress of 208 member associations vote on World Cup hosts in future.
Editing by Mark Meadows