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Richards: Warner proposals shocked me

The Football Association's international committee chairman Sir Dave Richards has revealed to ESPNsoccernet that he was astounded at the suggestions Jack Warner made in front of Lord Triesman, as the former bid leader for the 2018 World Cup was making his pitch for the FIFA executive committee member's vote.

• Valcke questions Triesman timing
• Warner attacks Triesman over allegations
• Triesman accuses four FIFA officials
• Warner hits back at Triesman claims
• Two members paid '$1.5m for votes'

Sir Dave, a vastly experienced football politician involved with both the FA and Premier League, was present at the meeting and swore at Warner when he heard the suggestions, which Lord Triesman has branded a bribe for a World Cup vote for England's 2018 bid.

On Tuesday, Lord Triesman spoke out against what he claims is severe corruption within the FIFA process and didn't hold back as he named names, making stunning accusations against four of the organisation's executive members by revealing his first-hand experience of how he believed they sought bribes and backhanders in return for their World Cup votes.

Lord Triesman told the government's select committee that Sir Dave, chairman of the Premier League was present at his meeting with Jack Warner when the FIFA vice-chairman asked for aid, estimated to be valued at £2.5 million, to be channelled through him.

Sir Dave told ESPNsoccernet: "Yes, I can confirm that I was present at that meeting with Mr Jack Warner when he stated that as England had led the world in education that the FA should start a worldwide education programme, building blocks around the world - and should start in Trinidad and Tobago.

"What I said is not repeatable....Yes, it was an unsavory word."

Lord Triesman claimed FIFA vice-president Warner suggested the FA fund an education centre in Trinidad with the cash to go through him, and later £500,000 to buy Haiti's World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation, also to go through Warner.

Sir Dave confirmed to ESPNsoccernet that while it was never explicitly said that it was to be cash for votes, he is under no illusions that it could be inferred.

The Premier League chairman is sure to be asked by the FA and FIFA to supply written evidence of his witness to the alleged demand for bribes in return for World Cup votes, though Sir Dave is sure Warner did not actually demand any cash payments or indeed specify amounts outright at that particular meeting.

"FIFA have immediately said they will investigate, and quite rightly so," Sir Dave said."Lord Triesman must be asked to clarify what he has said publicly to FIFA and state the witnesses and the evidence that he has. I was there at one meeting but I would doubt whether he went alone to any of the meetings as he was the new kid on the block."

Warner countered the allegations made against him by Lord Triesman on Monday, labelling them "a piece of nonsense".

"I've never asked Triesman nor any other person, Englishman or otherwise, for any money for my vote at any time," Warner said. "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.

"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]."

Meanwhile, former sports minister Richard Caborn has described Lord Triesman's damning statements to the Culture, Sports and Media as "the strongest allegations ever made in football".

Caborn, who was originally Gordon Brown's personal emissary for the 2018 World Cup bid, told ESPNsoccernet: "I have no doubt in football terms this is the strongest set of allegations ever. Now Lord Triesman owes a duty to the game to justify his allegations and to give us all the evidence that he must have.

"FIFA have a presidential election coming up and both candidates have called for transparency, so you will imagine there will now be a proper investigation."

FA sources have informed ESPNsoccernet that they have already began the process of compiling a report which they plan to submit to FIFA.

With FA general secretary Alex Horne already in Zurich for a FIFA meeting, talks have begun between the FA and FIFA, with Sepp Blater announcing an immediate investigation into the most damaging allegations ever made against world football's governing body.


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