FIFA inquiry meetings to be moved to Caribbean

FIFA's ethics committee has agreed to move interviews with Caribbean officials, part of its investigation...

World Soccer Association FIFA's headquarters in Zurich. Picture: AFP

FIFA's ethics committee has agreed to move interviews with Caribbean officials, part of its investigation into bribery allegations, away from the United States, a source told Reuters on Thursday.

Caribbean football officials, from 25 national federations, had been invited by FIFA to be interviewed by investigators led by former FBI chief Louis Freeh.

The officials had objected to meeting in Miami this week and at least one federation had called for the replacement of Freeh, given the allegations were originally made by CONCACAF's general secretary Chuck Blazer, who is also American.

A source said FIFA had agreed to hold the meetings in the Caribbean and that discussions were ongoing about a specific date and time.

"It is viewed as a step in the right direction," said the source, who declined to be named.

A FIFA spokesman said the organisation would not comment on an investigation that was still ongoing.

Three members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) -- president Jack Warner and staff members Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester -- were provisionally suspended by FIFA's ethics committee on May 29 pending the inquiry into events surrounding a meeting in the Caribbean with Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam.

BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

Qatari Bin Hammam, who was running against Blatter for FIFA president at the time of the meeting, has also been suspended following the bribery allegations.

All four suspended officials have denied any wrongdoing.

The Barbados FA has released a statement saying it did not receive any offer of bribes during the meeting with Bin Hammam in Port of Spain.

BFA president Ronald Jones wrote that "no inducements, benefits or suggestions of gifts were offered to the delegation of the Barbados Football Association. If such were offered, the BFA would have been quite offended that anyone could think that our vote could be purchased.

"The Barbados Football Association finds these accusations quite unsavoury and is concerned that the reputation of Barbados and by extension the Caribbean Football Family might be tarnished."