Former F.A. chairman alleges FIFA 2018 World Cup vote was riddled with bribes, corruption

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

File photograph of FIFA Sonnenberg Convention Center, in Zurich.
Image: Marcello Casal Jr. / ABr.

Lord Triesman, the former chairman of the F.A., the governing body of football in England, has made new allegations of widespread corruption within the FIFA election process for the 2018 World Cup. The allegations are the latest in a line of embarrassments for FIFA, who have already been forced to ban two members of the executive committee after they were exposed in a bribery investigation.

Speaking to a Parliamentary committee, he said four members of the panel which decided who would host the 2018 tournament approached him demanding "bribes" for their votes. Triesman—who ran England's failed campaign to host the 2018 World Cup—said the demands were "below what would be ethically acceptable". He alleged Jack Warner, the vice president of FIFA, demanded £2.5million for his vote; and Nicolás Léoz, the member for Paraguay, said he wanted a knighthood.

However, Warner said the allegations against him and the three others made by Triesman were "nonsense". He told Sky Sports News: "I've never asked Triesman nor any other person, Englishman or otherwise, for any money for my vote at any time." But the new allegations are the latest in a line of corruption claims to rock FIFA—last year the organization banned Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, both executive committee members, from voting in both the 2018 and 2022 race after a corruption probe; four others were also banned from voting.

John Whittingdale, the chairman of the Parliamentary committee, said he would be writing to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, to demand an investigation into the allegations "as a matter of urgency". Blatter said he was "shocked" to hear of the claims, and said that after reviewing the evidence submitted to the committee he would "react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules."

Today, in a separate development, members of parliament published evidence obtained by The Sunday Times alleging that two other FIFA executives—Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of Côte d'Ivoire—had taken bribes of £1million to vote for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, which it ultimately did. Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup.