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FIFA opens ethics probe into 16 officials

World football's governing body FIFA said they have opened ethics proceedings against 16 Caribbean...

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

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World football's governing body FIFA said they have opened ethics

proceedings against 16 Caribbean football

federation officials, following an initial probe into cash-for-votes

allegations.

The cases are related to the meeting in Port of Spain, Trinidad and

Tobago on May 10 and 11 where it was alleged that Qatari

football official Mohammed bin Hammam handed out bribes to Caribbean members of

CONCACAF -- the regional body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Bin Hammam has been banned for life by FIFA

but has protested his innocence along with ex-CONCACAF president Jack Warner,

of Trinidad, who resigned before the

investigation was completed.

One of the 16 officials - Colin Klass of Guyana -- has

already been provisionally suspended from taking part in any football-related

activity, FIFA said.

FIFA said the cases were "apparent

violations of the Code of Ethics" and the governing body did not rule out

opening more cases if fresh evidence is uncovered.

"It is important to note that the

investigations are still ongoing and it is therefore possible that further

proceedings could be opened in the future," said the statement.

The allegations, made after CONCACAF's

American general secretary Chuck Blazer reported the claims to FIFA, came

shortly before the re-election of FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam was challenging Blatter in the

June 1 election but withdrew before the vote.

Several Caribbean

officials described receiving brown envelopes containing $40,000 (24,668.52

pounds) in cash.

The 16 officials facing investigation by FIFA

are: David Hinds and Mark Bob Forde (Barbados); Franka Pickering and Aubrey

Liburd (British Virgin Islands); David Frederick (Cayman Islands); Osiris

Guzman and Felix Ledesma (Dominican Republic); Colin Klass and Noel Adonis

(Guyana); Yves Jean-Bart (Haiti); Anthony Johnson (St. Kitts and Nevis);

Patrick Mathurin (St. Lucia); Joseph Delves and Ian Hypolite (St. Vincent and

the Grenadines); Richard Groden (Trinidad and Tobago) and Hillaren Frederick

(U.S. Virgin Islands)