THE FORMER CHAIRMAN of England’s FA, Lord Triesman, yesterday reopened the row over allegations of corruption at FIFA.
Britain’s Sport Committee held a one-off evidence session on England’s failed 2018 football World Cup bid yesterday.
And it was box-office.
Russia beat England, as well as joint bids from Spain and Portugal and from Netherlands and Belgium to win a ballot of the organisation’s 22 executive members in Zurich in December.
The English bid received just two votes, which was well short of expectations and far short of the 12 required.
Lord Triesman quit as bid chairman earlier in the process when he was caught up in a tabloid sting. Yesterday, however, he let loose on the whole canvassing debacle. He claimed that:
- FIFA’s executive committee were guilty of “improper and unethical behaviour” in the early stages of the bid.
- Notorious Concacaf president Jack Warner asked him for £2.5million (€2.8m) to build a school and other facilities in Trinidad, intimating that the money should be paid directly through him.
- Warner later ‘requested £500,000′ for a scheme to buy up World Cup TV rights and air the tournament on big screens for the islanders of Haiti in the wake of the 2010 earthquake.
- Paraguayan executive Nicolas Leoz in Ascunción asked, according to the FA chief, for a knighthood in return for his vote.
- Triesman said he met the head of the Brazilian football federation, Ricardo Teixeira. When Triesman said he was looking forward to meeting President Lula, he was told: “Lula is nothing. You come and tell me what you have for me.”
The FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed he was “shocked” by the claims. “If this is true, I will fight this.
“I am fighting for FIFA to clean FIFA. I cannot answer for individual members of our committee. I cannot say if they are all angels or if they are all devils,” Blatter said.
Referring to the four FIFA members accused of seeking bribes, he added:
“They are coming from other confederations, so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils.’
Committee chairman John Whittingdale said Triesman should have made allegations surrounding the bidding process for the FIFA World Cup known earlier.
Triesman insisted he thought he’d harm the bid if he complained to FIFA at the time and wanted to invoke his parliamentary privilege when airing his grievances yesterday.
All those named by Lord Triesman rejected any wrong-doing.
Read more in the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Guardian | Listen to Ken Early’s review of the committee hearing on OTB