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May 9, 2011

Triesman to lift lid on 2018 failure?

Former FA chairman Lord Triesman is expected to blow the whistle on the bribes and backhanders he was asked for by those in a position to influence the voting on the 2018 World Cup bid, ESPNsoccernet can reveal.

A UK government select committee will hear allegations of votes-for-gifts. Triesman refused to sanction payments and will suggest that a refusal to pay such bribes is the reason behind England's abysmal showing in the vote to host the finals.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Football Governance has already heard from Lord Triesman about the conflicts between the Football Association and Premier League, but now, on May 10, Tuesday, England's failed World Cup bid will be the subject of investigation five months after a debacle in Zurich which saw England gain just two votes as Russia romped to victory.

The committee have summoned FA and England 2018 chairman Lord Triesman, the campaign's international president David Dein and winning bid strategist Mike Lee, who represented Qatar 2022, to give evidence to the House of Commons on May 10. Triesman has told close confidantes that he plans to use parliamentary privilege, which means he cannot be sued, to name names.

England's bid gained only one vote outside of their own member, Geoff Thompson, on a 24-man FIFA Executive Committee. Triesman will suggest that this failure resulted from England 2018's refusal to bow to blackmail.

The FA eventually invested £19 million in a bid process started by Lord Triesman. The FA chairman, who resigned in May 2010 after a newspaper sting that saw him recorded discussing regarding the Russian and Spanish bids, is expected to reveal the variety of inducements he was asked to give in return for votes for England to stage the finals.

Lord Triesman has confirmed to ESPNsoccernet that he will be appearing before the committee but refused to comment further. However, a well-informed Westminster source told ESPNsoccernet: "This might well prove to become a very, very serious matter. The suggestion that is being made is that a variety of things were asked, and they were very specific ... very specific."

Lord Triesman has taken legal advice, such is the serious nature of the allegations, and will only break his silence in front of the select committee.

By giving evidence to the select committee, he will be protected by parliamentary privilege. Despite many allegations made about the bidding process and the FIFA organisation, hard and fast evidence has always been hard to come by.

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