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Friday, February 12, 1999 Published at 08:58 GMT

Sport: Football

FA cleared over 'cash-for-votes'

Graham Kelly was forced to quit the FA over the affair

World football's governing body FIFA has cleared the Football Associations of England and Wales of any wrong-doing over the "cash-for-votes" scandal.

Rob Philipps of BBC Wales, who broke the story, speaks to Radio 5 Live
The controversy over the proposed grant to the FA of Wales led to the departure of FA chief executive Graham Kelly and chairman Keith Wiseman.

Press reports had alleged that there was a link between the cash and Wales' intention to back Wiseman in his bid to become a FIFA vice-president.

But FIFA investigated the affair and told BBC Wales there was no evidence of foul play and the matter was now closed.

A FIFA spokesman said: "The two associations involved were asked to submit a report to FIFA on what happened.

"FIFA have found that there were no incorrect or improper actions that would warrant further investigation. The case is now closed as far as FIFA is concerned."

The FAW had always insisted the money would not go to them and would instead be pumped into the Football Trust.

Kelly in the clear

Kelly was the first to resign at the end of December, after the FA had conducted their own investigation into the affair and decided he had acted without consulting either the executive or the FA's full council in advance.

[ image: Wiseman quit as chairman after losing the backing of the FA]
Wiseman quit as chairman after losing the backing of the FA
Wiseman tried to cling onto power until a meeting of the full council in January, but he followed Kelly out of the door after being met with widespread opposition from within the FA.

After hearing the FA had been cleared, Kelly told BBC Radio 5 Live: "It feels rather strange.

"The first I heard of this was this - I didn't know there was an investigation going on but it's nice to be cleared by it.

"The critical issue was that I couldn't persuade the (FA) executive committee that what I was doing was legitimate and in the best interests of English football.

"We could have carried on arguing but it would have been a very messy dispute, and I don't know whether I would have won irrespective of today's findings by FIFA."

Geoff Thompson was installed as interim chairman following Wiseman's demise, while director of public affairs David Davies replaced Kelly in the short-term.

The FA welcomed the official announcement, which follows a meeting with FIFA president Sepp Blatter a fortnight ago.

FA spokesman Steve Double said: "We gave a full report on the matter to Sepp Blatter two weeks ago when David Davies and Geoff Thompson went to Switzerland to meet him.

"It was made clear to us then that FIFA fully accepted our version of events. We are pleased that they have publicly confirmed that today."

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