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Fifa and Coe

Lord Sebastian Coe
Panorama: Fifa and Coe,
BBC One 8.30pm, Monday 22 October 2007

A football chief has revealed how a Fifa Vice President asked him to pay Football Association cash into his own bank account.

Former chairman of the Scottish FA, John McBeth, said top Fifa executive Jack Warner asked him to make the match fee cheque payable to him personally.

It is one of a series of suspect dealings involving Fifa revealed in tonight's Panorama which asks why Fifa's Ethics Committee - run by Sebastian Coe - is not taking action.

There are one or two people on that executive committee that I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw
John McBeth, former chairman of the Scottish FA
McBeth first expressed concerns about corruption in Fifa after being chosen to fill Britain's post on the FIFA Executive Committee in May this year.

He pointed the finger at football officials in Africa and the Caribbean - but was dropped just days before starting his new job amid accusations of bigotry and racism from Vice President Warner.

Race accusation

However, he is adamant that this was merely a smokescreen - and that he was sailing far too close to the truth for some Fifa members.

"There are one or two people on that executive committee that I wouldn't trust as far as I could throw," he said.

John McBeth
John McBeth said claims of racism were a smokescreen
"I was talking about the football people that I've met and dealt with in Africa and the Caribbean.

"It was football people I was talking about. I wasn't talking about the nation.

"I'm not a racist bigot and I think it probably says more about Jack and him trying to deflect away the criticism that I was making of corruption."

McBeth reveals for the first time how Mr Warner, who represents Fifa in North and Central America and the Caribbean, had asked him to pay a match fee directly into his personal account.

He said: "Trinidad and Tobago came to play Scotland at Hibernian's ground in Easter Road in Edinburgh. And after the game he asked me to make a cheque out to his personal account for the game.

"And I said 'We don't do that, it should go to the association'.

Panorama asked Lord Coe why the ethics committee was not looking into these issues. He declined to answer or give any details of his job, referring all queries to Fifa itself

"I then found out later that he'd approached several other staff in my organisation - to do exactly the same thing."

Warner has also previously been found guilty by Fifa's Ethics Committee of touting thousands of World Cup tickets through his family travel company in Trinidad.

Yet he escaped with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

Sponsorship deal

The Panorama investigation has also found that some of FIFA's actions in relation to a sponsorship deal amounted to criminal activity, punishable by up to five years in prison in Fifa's home nation, Switzerland.

Fifa attempted to dump its sponsor MasterCard and replace it with Visa, contrary to a long-standing agreement, and was taken to court in New York by MasterCard, where the judge condemned its actions.

The man who led Fifa's marketing team Jerome Valcke admitted lying to both MasterCard and to Visa.

The prosecution told the court: "Disraeli once said there were three kinds of lies - lies, darned lies and statistics.

"We have learned from the Fifa Marketing Group that there are more.

The Italian team after winning the 2006 World Cup
The MasterCard sponsorship deal was worth about $180m
"We have learned about the six degrees of prevarication, white lies, commercial lies, bluffs, pure lies, straight untruths and perjury.

"Mr Valcke even lied when testifying about his lies. But in Fifa's world that's OK."

And the Judge agreed: "Mr Valcke and his team's dealings with Fifa's long-standing partner MasterCard constitutes the opposite of "fair play" and violates FIFA's own requirement that 'its negotiators deal honourably with its business partners'.

"FIFA's marketing director lied to both MasterCard, Fifa's long-time partner, and to Visa, its negotiating counterparty to both of which Fifa under Swiss law owed a duty of good faith."

Fifa swiftly announced that it had "parted company" with Valcke.

Ethics Committee

It then emerged that someone at Fifa had falsified documents in the case - a crime punishable under Swiss law by a sentence of up to five years in jail.

Yet, despite his involvement in the case, Valcke has since been allowed to return to Fifa and is now General Secretary - the second most powerful position in world football.

Panorama asked Lord Coe why the ethics committee was not looking into these issues.

He declined to answer or give any details of his job, referring all queries to Fifa itself, the body whose members he is supposed to be monitoring.

Fifa Ex-co members Jack Warner and Jerome Valcke have also declined to comment.

Panorama: Fifa and Coe, BBC One 8.30pm, Monday 22 October 2007

SEE ALSO
Transcript: Fifa and Coe
26 Oct 07 |  Panorama
Statements to Panorama
23 Oct 07 |  Panorama
Coe defends Fifa role
22 Oct 07 |  Panorama
World Cup sponsorship row settled
21 Jun 07 |  Business
Visa signs $170m deal with Fifa
28 Jun 07 |  Business
Fifa announces Valcke appointment
27 Jun 07 |  Football

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