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May, 10, 2011

Triesman accuses four FIFA members

Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has lifted the lid on the 2018 World Cup bidding process, accusing four FIFA executive committee members of requesting gifts in return for votes.

• Warner hits back at Triesman claims
• FIFA members 'paid $1.5m for votes'
• Scudamore wanted deal for 'Game 39'

Nicolas Leoz, Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi were all singled out by Triesman as he spoke before MPs at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in the House of Commons. Triesman confirmed he will be taking the claims to FIFA.

In the most astonishing allegation, Paraguay's Nicolas Leoz is said to have demanded a knighthood in return for voting for England's 2018 bid.

Warner, meanwhile, reportedly requested £2.5 million to build an education centre in Trinidad - with the cash to be channelled through him - before later asking for £500,000 to buy Haiti's World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation, again with the money to go through him.

It is alleged that Brazil's Teixeira told Triesman on November 14 in Qatar: "Tell me what you can do for me when you come to see me," while Thailand's Worawi Makudi is accused of wanting the TV rights to a friendly between England and his national team.

Triesman said: "These were some of the things that were put to me personally, sometimes in the presence of others, which in my view did not represent proper and ethical behaviour on the part of members of the executive committee.''

Asked why he did not report the incidents to FIFA, Triesman said he feared that it would damage the England bid, but admitted he should have done so and pushed for action.

"The point was not pressed,'' he said. "And I think, in retrospect, we would have burned off our chances. In retrospect that was not the right view to take and I accept that.''

John Whittingdale, chairman of the committee, said he would now be writing to FIFA president Sepp Blatter to launch an investigation into the evidence ''as a matter of urgency''.

FA chief operations officer Alex Horne, in Zurich for the FIFA 2014 Task Force hearing, said the FA would be asking the select committee for all the evidence they had ''and get it sent to the FIFA ethics committee''.

Horne said it was ''too early to say'' whether the FA would be calling for the ballot in December to be retaken.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Fifa had to undertake the sort of "serious action'' agreed by Olympic chiefs after a bribery scandal over the awarding of the 2002 winter Games.

"This is the world's most popular game. It is incredibly important not to millions of people but to billions of people and it is up to Fifa to make sure that everyone has confidence in the processes that lead up to the awarding of a World Cup,'' he told reporters at a Westminster lunch.

"The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had to face up to big challenges after the award of the Olympics to Salt Lake City and they took serious action and restored confidence in their processes. Fifa needs to do the same.''

Mr Hunt would not comment on the latest allegations and pointed out that he was not in office at the time of the initial bid processes.

But he said that when he went to Zurich for conclusion of the selection, all the discussion was about "who was doing deals with who'' rather than the merits of the individual bid".

Here are the main points from a dramatic morning in committee room 15.

• Select committee said it would publish Sunday Times claims that FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast were paid $1.5 million by the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid.

• Former Football Association chairman and World Cup 2018 bid leader Lord Triesman claimed FIFA vice-president Jack Warner asked for money - suggested to be £2.5million - to build an education centre in Trinidad with the cash to be channelled through him, and later £500,000 to buy Haiti World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation, also to go through Warner.

• Triesman also claimed Paraguay's FIFA member Nicolas Leoz asked for a knighthood.

• Brazil's FIFA member Ricardo Terra Teixeira told Triesman to "come and tell me what you have got for me''.

• Thailand's FIFA member Worawi Makudi wanted to be given the TV rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team, Triesman said.

• Corruption concerns were not reported to FIFA because Triesman feared collapse in support for 2018 World Cup bid.

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

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