Photo: AP Photo/Michael Sohn
Lord Triesman, the former head of England’s Football Association, is testifying today about claims that several prominent soccer officials solicited bribes from the FA in exchange for supporting England’s bid to host the World Cup.During a hearing in front of the House of Commons, Triesman accused four members of FIFA’s voting committee of soliciting money and favours from the English bid committee, including a member from Paraguay who asked for a knighthood, and a former FIFA vice-president who allegedly requested 2.5 million pounds for an education centre in Trinidad.
England didn’t follow through on any of the requests and (as a result?) only got one vote for their bid to host the 2018 games. Russia, which spent twice as much as England on their bid process, won the competition.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Times reports that two other members of FIFA were paid 1.5 million pounds each by Qatar, who won the vote for the 2022 World Cup.
There have long been allegations of corruption at FIFA, but this is the first time such a prominent official has publicly named individuals, with very specific allegations of bribe requests.
As a member of the House of Lords, Triesman can invoke parliamentary privilege, which protects him from lawsuits from the named parties.
Triesman resigned as head of the FA last year after he was caught on tape suggesting that Spain and Russia were attempting to buy off referees at the 2010 World Cup. He claims the FA never spoke up about the bribes, because they worried it would hurt England’s chances in the final vote. In the end, they have never had a chance.
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