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Triesman claims four Fifa members sought 2018 bribes


David Bond reports on Lord Triesman's allegations

Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman claims four Fifa members sought "bribes" in return for backing England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Triesman - who was initially chairman of England's bid - made the allegations about Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi.

He said their behaviour was "below what would be ethically acceptable".

However, Fifa vice-president Warner said the allegations made against him by Triesman were "a piece of nonsense".

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Warner added: "I've never asked Triesman nor any other person, Englishman or otherwise, for any money for my vote at any time.

"In the English campaign, before Triesman was unceremoniously kicked out, I've spoken to him on his initiative on only three occasions, while I've spoken to his other colleagues on other occasions and not one of them will ever corroborate his bit of trivia.

Lord Triesman's allegations in full

"I have been in Fifa for 29 years and this will astound many, I'm sure, including people like David Dein [international president of England 2018 bid] and Geoff Thompson [head of England's 2018 bid]."

Triesman admitted that - with hindsight - his bid team should have reported Warner, Leoz, Teixeira and Makudi immediately.

Speaking before a British parliamentary inquiry into the governance of football in England and the country's failure to secure the right to host the 2018 World Cup finals, Triesman said the FA chose not to complain at the time for fear of jeopardising England's bid.

As it turned out, England collected only two out of 22 votes in December last year as Russia landed the tournament.

"I think, in retrospect, we would have burned off our chances," Triesman told the Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee on Tuesday. "In retrospect, that was not the right view to take and I accept that."

Triesman said he now planned to take his evidence to Fifa, while John Whittingdale, chairman of the committee, said he would be writing to Fifa president Sepp Blatter to launch an investigation into the evidence "as a matter of urgency".

Blatter himself promised immediate action if evidence of wrongdoing by executive committee members was revealed.

"I was shocked [upon hearing] but one has to see the evidence," said the 75-year-old Swiss on Tuesday, adding that the accused executive committee members were not elected by the same congress as him.


"They are coming from other confederations, so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils.

"There is a new round of information. Give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said.

"We will react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules.

"Zero tolerance is going through Fifa, it is one of the items on the Congress. It is my battle horse."

Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke claimed the governing body had been very clear about what was considered ethical behaviour during World Cup voting.

"We will be asking for evidence or any information," he said. "We sent a letter to all ExCo [executive committee] members on what they can or cannot do so we were very clear from day one."

Triesman's specific claims are:

- Fifa vice-president Warner asked for around £2.5m to build an education centre in Trinidad, with the cash to be channelled through him, and later wanted £500,000 to buy Haiti's World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation, again to be channelled through him;

- Paraguay's Fifa member Leoz asked for a knighthood;

- Brazil's Fifa member Teixeira asked him [Triesman] to "come and tell me what you have got for me", with the implication being that he wanted something in return for his vote;

- Thailand's Fifa member Makudi wanted to be given the TV rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team.

Triesman also claimed that Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore offered to support the England 2018 World Cup bid in return for the FA's backing for his controversial '39th Game ' proposal.

But Scudamore claimed Triesman's version of events was incorrect.

"I'm afraid David's recollection of the facts and the chronology is simply wrong in this instance," he said in a statement.

"I was, along with my organisation and our member clubs, always in full support of England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

"It was discussed at numerous club meetings and that support was never made conditional on the International Round concept (39th Game), or anything else for that matter.

"In fact, the league and its clubs had moved on from the idea of an International Round some time before the FA started structuring the 2018 Bid Company and associated positions.

"I will be writing to the select committee to provide them with the accurate facts in this matter."

In a separate development, it was also claimed that two more Fifa executive committee members were paid nearly £1m to vote for Qatar's bid.

Blatter wants Triesman evidence

Conservative MP Damian Collins said evidence submitted by the Sunday Times newspaper - which has been published on the UK Parliament website - claimed Fifa vice-president Issa Hayatou, from Cameroon, and Jacques Anouma, from the Ivory Coast, were involved.

Collins also said the Sunday Times submission claimed Qatar specifically employed a fixer to arrange deals with African members for their votes.

Mike Lee, the London-based public relations consultant who worked on Qatar's bid, said he was unaware of any payments being made.

Lee, formerly communications director of the Premier League, Uefa and London's 2012 Olympic bid, told MPs: "I was working at the highest level of that bid and talking at length with the chairman and ceo and saw no evidence of any of these allegations.

"My experience is I would have had a sense if such things were going on and I had no sense of that."

Later on Tuesday, the Qatar Football Association issued a statement categorically denying the Sunday Times allegations and promised to co-operate with Fifa if it opened an investigation into the newspaper's claims.

Teixeira also issued a statement rejecting Triesman's claims.

"The president of the CBF [Brazilian football confederation] is already taking the relevant judicial measures with a case against Mr David Triesman for the absurd comments which, in truth, attempt to hide his failure in leading the English candidacy since it only obtained one vote... its own," said Teixeira.

Despite the denials of any wrongdoing, these latest accusations could spell more trouble more Fifa.

Two other executive committee members, Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti, were banned by Fifa's ethics committee last year.

That means eight executive committee members, one third of the total 24, have either been alleged to have been already found guilty of impropriety in relation to the 2018 and 2022 bids.

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see also
FA will send evidence to Fifa - Horne
10 May 11 |  Football
Qatar 'bribed' Hayatou & Anouma
11 May 11 |  African
Fifa names in the frame
10 May 11 |  Football
Mayor cancels Fifa's hotel stay
06 Dec 10 |  London
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Anson floats Fifa reform proposal
04 Dec 10 |  Football
FA chief to quit in Fifa protest
04 Dec 10 |  Football
Redknapp baffled by Fifa decision
03 Dec 10 |  Football
England 2018 bid 'sunk by media'
03 Dec 10 |  Football
England bid boss fumes at voting
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football
England miss out in 2018 Cup vote
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Triesman quits FA & 2018 Cup jobs
16 May 10 |  Football
FA concern over '39th game'
21 Feb 08 |  Football

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