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FIFA Suspends Execs in Voting Bribery Scandal

ZURICH — FIFA suspended senior executives Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner because of bribery allegations while exonerating president Sepp Blatter in the gravest corruption crisis facing soccer's governing body.

Blatter now is in line to be re-elected unopposed to a fourth term Wednesday. His only challenger, Bin Hammam, withdrew his candidacy hours before being excluded from all soccer activities by FIFA's ethics committee.

The panel said there was sufficient evidence to further investigate allegations that bin Hammam and Warner offered $40,000 to delegates at a Caribbean soccer association meeting.

The payments were allegedly made to secure votes for bin Hammam, a Qatari who heads Asia's soccer confederation, in his campaign to unseat Blatter. The evidence was compiled by U.S. executive committee member Chuck Blazer.

Bin Hammam and Warner, a FIFA vice president from Trinidad, will face a full FIFA inquiry. If found guilty, they could be expelled from FIFA and banned for life from all soccer matters. Two officials from the Caribbean Football Union, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, were also suspended over the bribery allegations.

Bin Hammam has denied wrongdoing. Warner called his hearing "biased" and an abuse of process.

Blazer, a FIFA executive committee member and general secretary of the CONCACAF regional body, told the Associated Press more proof will emerge to back up the file of evidence he submitted.

"This was a conspiracy right from the start between the two of them," said Blazer, dismissing bin Hammam's suggestions that Blatter orchestrated the scandal as "absolute foolishness."

Blazer said he expects more Caribbean football leaders to admit they were offered cash bribes.

More Soccer

Barcelona parade follows violence

Barcelona players rode through the Catalan capital in an open-top bus Sunday, showing off the Champions League trophy they won by beating Manchester United 3-1 in the final.

Thousands of fans greeted the players as the bus wound its way through the city hours after street parties turned violent early Sunday. At least 18 people were hospitalized and more than 80 arrested after revelers attacked officers with bottles, flares and other objects, and destroyed park benches and bus stops.

More than 90,000 fans packed Nou Camp stadium, with coach Pep Guardiola carrying the trophy onto the field.

Lionel Messi, who scored at Wembley on Saturday, told the crowd: "Hopefully, there will be many more to come. Long live Barca and long live Catalunya."

Italian Cup: Samuel Eto'o scored twice to lift Inter Milan over Palermo 3-1 in the league final.

Et cetera

CYcling: Spain's Alberto Contador captured his second Giro d'Italia title in Milan, putting himself in line to become the first cyclist to win the Giro, Tour de France and Spanish Vuelta in the same year. Contador beat Michele Scarponi by more than six minutes.

Horses: Pocket Cowboys led all the way in the Kingston and Gitchee Goomie rallied to win the Mount Vernon in $100,000 stakes for New York-breds on the turf at Belmont Park.

NHL: The Oilers re-signed forward Ryan Jones, 26, to a two-year deal. Jones, who had 18 goals and seven assists this past season, could have become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

Times wires

Sports briefs: 05/29/11 [Last modified: Sunday, May 29, 2011 9:05pm]
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