Fifa rocked by fresh World Cup bid corruption claims
Pressure grows on governing body after new allegations of corruption during World Cup bids surfaced
Fifa’s reputation took yet another battering on Tuesday after the governing body was hit with fresh corruption allegations that six of its executive members sought favours or bribes in return for World Cup votes.
Former Football Association and England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman told a parliamentary committee that the members of Fifa’s executive committee were guilty of “improper and unethical behaviour” in the early stages of the bid.
Triesman accused Fifa vice-president Jack Warner of asking for £2.5m to build an education centre in Trinidad during a meeting in a London hotel in October 2009, with the cash to be channelled through him.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Warner insisted the allegations made against him by Triesman were “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,” he said.
“I was shocked but one has to see the evidence. Give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said”
Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Triesman also claimed Paraguay’s Fifa member Nicolas Leoz asked for a knighthood, while Brazil’s member Ricardo Teixeira allegedly asked him to “come and tell me what you have got for me”.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Fifa member Worawi Makudi wanted to be given the television rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team, according to Triesman.
And in a separate development, two other Fifa members, Issa Hayatou from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast, were alleged to have been paid $1.5m (£0.9m) to vote for Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, according to claims voiced by MPs in the House of Commons.
After Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti were banned by Fifa’s ethics committee before the final vote last year, Tuesday’s developments mean a third of the body’s executive members have either been alleged to have been or already found guilty of corruption in relation to the World Cup bids.
The claims against Hayatou and Anouma came as a result of evidence provided by the Sunday Times‘ undercover investigation into World Cup voting last year, Tory MP Damian Collins revealed.
“The Sunday Times’ submission, and this is to be published by us later, claims that 1.5m dollars was paid to Fifa executive committee members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma who went on to vote for Qatar.”
Fifa president Sepp Blatter vowed that immediate action would be taken if evidence of wrongdoing by the body’s members was revealed.
“I was shocked but one has to see the evidence,” said Blatter on Tuesday. “They are coming from other confederations, so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils.
“There is a new round of information. Give us time to digest that and start the investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said. We will react immediately against all those in breach of the ethics code rules.
“Zero tolerance is going through Fifa, it is one of the items on the Congress. It is my battle horse.”