BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: In Depth: 2006 World Cup decision  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
2006 World Cup decision Friday, 7 July, 2000, 19:14 GMT 20:14 UK
Fifa denies 'death threat' claim
Sepp Blatter and members of the German world cup delegation
Controversy has dogged the German success
Fifa has dismissed reports that one of its officials received death threats in the run-up to the vote for the venue of the 2006 World Cup.

A statement from the sport's governing body confirmed that whilst the Oceania delegate Charles Dempsey had complained of being under "unbearable personal pressure", no actual death threats were received.

It said any such reports, including comments by its own director of communications Keith Cooper, were inaccurate.

Mr Dempsey was also amongst members of the Fifa comittee members who received a hoax message promising gifts in return for votes for the German bid.

South Africa, which narrowly missed out during the final round of voting, says it is now considering legal action to force a new vote.

Mr Dempsey's abstention allowed Germany to defeat South Africa by a single vote in the contest to host the cup.

I didn't do it lightly. I don't make decisions like that lightly. I was under unsustainable pressure

Charles Dempsey

A BBC correspondent says that despite the denials and the embarrasing contradiction of earlier statements by Fifa that any death threats had been issued against the delegate, the events and recriminations of the past 36-hours have damaged the integrity of football's world governing body.

Fifa has defended the fairness of the voting system which narrowly chose Germany to host the World Cup in 2006 and they are rejecting calls from South Africa and others for the result to be scrapped and a new ballot arranged.

On his way home to New Zealand Mr Dempsey said he had been under "unsustainable pressure".

However, he said this was in connection with attempts to bribe him. He said nothing about death threats.

When he arrived at Auckland airport on Saturday morning, he left via a side door and evaded waiting reporters.

He said he would make a further statement after attending a meeting of the Oceania Football Confederation in Auckland on Sunday.

Threat allegation

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said she was extremely disappointed by Mr Dempsey's failure to support South Africa's bid.
Charles Dempsey
Charles Dempsey remains silent about his abstention
In an interview with the BBC, New Zealand's Minister for Sport Trevor Mallard said Mr Dempsey had made allegations to him about threats, but at this stage details were not clear.

"It doesn't seem logical," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "We are having trouble understanding why he did what he did."

He said that the whole country was shocked and embarrassed by Mr Dempsey's failure to discharge his responsibilities.

If, as instructed, Mr Dempsey had backed South Africa in the final round of voting, it would have left them tied with Germany on 12 votes apiece.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter would then have had the casting vote - and he was an avowed supporter of the South African bid.

Internal inquiry

Fifa has meanwhile dismissed calls for another vote.

But it said it was opening an internal inquiry into sleaze allegations made in connection with the World Cup bidding.

The German Football Federation and the organising committee are being invited to join in the inquiry.

The inquiry is expected to investigate, among other things, the origin of what is thought to have been a hoax letter sent to a number of delegates, offering gifts if they voted for Germany.

A German satirical magazine, the Titanic, issued a statement on Friday saying it was behind the letter. It said it was meant as a joke.

South Africa's bid committee has meanwhile launched its own investigation into Thursday's decision.

African disquiet

Danny Jordaan, the leader of the South African bid, said he was reserving judgement on the matter.

Zola Zinwar, South Africa's national team manager, has demanded a re-vote and a police investigation.

President Thabo Mbeki described the outcome as a tragedy for the African continent.

"It is a tragic day that their message and ours did not succeed to convince the majority on the Fifa executive that Africa's time has come," Mr Mbeki told reporters.

"Next time we will win," he added.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Paul Newman
"The South Africans have promised their own investigation"
Charles Dempsey
"I have my reasons"
NZ sport minister Trevor Mallard
"We are having trouble understanding why he did what he did"
Horst Schmidt of the German FA:
"It was completely fair"
See also:

07 Jul 00 | Media reports
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
Links to more 2006 World Cup decision stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more 2006 World Cup decision stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes