Triesman Blows the Lid on Flawed World Cup Bid Process

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Triesman, pictured with Nicolas Leoz, who requested a knighthood in exchange for backing England's bid. (Getty)
(WFI) England 2018 bid chairman and former FA chairman David Triesman has blown the lid on the flawed World Cup bid process, accusing four FIFA Exco members of requesting improper inducements in return for their support for England’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to host the tournament

Jack Warner, Worawi Makudi, Nicolas Leoz and Ricardo Teixeira were today named by Triesman when he was giving evidence at a Parliamentary inquiry into football governance in London.

The most serious allegations were made against Warner, whom Triesman said asked for £2.5million ($4.3million) to build a football development centre in Trinidad with the money channeled via himself.

According to Triesman, Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards, who was present at the meeting in London in October 2009, told Warner: "You must be joking, Jack, that must cost £2.5million."

"Jack Warner nodded at that and sat back, but then said the funds would be channeled through him and he would make sure they were appropriately spent," said Triesman.

The recollection prompted laughs in the committee room, as Warner's reputation is sullied by serial allegations of financial impropriety.

Triesman went on to say that following the massive earthquake in Haiti in January last year, Warner contacted him to tell him how the lives of Haitian referees had been lost after the building they were in had collapsed when the earthquake happened.

"Warner said the thing that in his view would lift the spirits of the Haitian people was if they could see the World Cup and it would lift people's spirits,” said Triesman.

“What he needed was someone to make a donation to buy the television rights so that large screens could be erected so that people could watch the games.

"He believed that if he had a sum of around £500,000 he could secure those rights.

"In my view that was entirely out of the question. Some time later it was put to me that he was actually the owner of those rights."

The English FA subsequently sent out a team to train a new generation of Haitian referees, but it was not enough to win Warner's favour last December. The Trinidadian allegedly went back on promises made to Prince William and David Cameron to support England's bid.

Exco members accused
Triesman went on to allege that Worawi Makudi asked for all broadcast rights - including those for the lucrative British market - for a now cancelled friendly match between England and Thailand.

He also confirmed the story, published in last weekend's Sunday Times, that Nicolas Leoz asked him to help obtain an honourary knighthood.

Triesman claimed that on a visit to CONMEBOL headquarters in November 2009, Leoz showed him a display case full of the honours he had obtained and photographs of streets named after him globally. He said that he was a wealthy man and had no need for any other inducements.

"It was put to me as a former foreign office minister that I must know how these things worked," Triesman said, who told him that it was entirely out of the question.

A week later in Doha after England's friendly match with Brazil, Triesman told Brazil's Exco member Ricardo Teixeira that he was delighted with the support that the then Brazilian president Lula da Silva had given the England bid while on a state visit.

Teixiera allegedly told Triesman “Lula is nothing, you come and tell me what you have got for me''.

Triesman also cast a revealing light on the
Triesman claimed that Jack Warner requested £2.5million for an education centre during the bid process
nature of his discussions with FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

He said that when he went to meet Blatter for the first time as FA chairman, the Swiss's first instinct was to question him on whether he went to university with investigative reporter, Andrew Jennings, rather than about football matters.

The claim about his relationship with Jennings – a bete noir of FIFA and the only journalist to be banned by football's governing body – was an old lie believed to be bandied around to journalists by one of Blatter's former aides. But the claim is instructive because it shows the extent to which personalities dominate at the top table of FIFA politics.

Warner denies Triesman claims

The credibility of FIFA’s bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups now stands in tatters after a third of the 24 member FIFA Executive Committee that were due to vote on the tournaments have been accused of impropriety during the bid race.

Two of those members, Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, were banned by FIFA before the December 2 vote.

A further two, Jacques Anouma and Issa Hayatou, were this morning accused of taking $1.5million bribes to vote for the winning Qatar 2022 bid.

This afternoon, Jack Warner
Warner and the EPL both dismissed Triesman's allegations
claimed that Triesman's allegations were "a piece of nonsense".

He told Sky Sports News that Triesman "no doubt feels he can revive his dying political career by mentioning that piece of foolishness".

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

"In the English World Cup campaign, before he [Triesman] was unceremoniously kicked out, I've spoken to him on his initiative on only three occasions, while I have spoken to his other colleagues on other occasions and not one of his colleagues 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 and Geoff Thompson."

Thompson succeeded Triesman as head of England's bid after he was forced to stand down after falling victim to a tabloid newspaper sting in May last year. Dein was its international president and had declined to give evidence to the enquiry as a public witness.

"This is the last I intend to say on this matter," Warner added.

The English Premier League also dismissed claims made by Triesman in his evidence session, when he said that the EPL's support was conditional on the FA backing its so-called "39th Game" initiative. The EPL had mooted the possibility of playing an extra match outside of England to boost its global popularity, but the FA had refused to support the plan.

EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said Triesman's claims were "simply wrong."

“I was, along with my organisation and our member clubs, always in full support of England’s bid for the FIFA 2018 World Cup," he said.

"It was discussed at numerous club meetings and that support was never made conditional on the International Round concept, or anything else for that matter. In fact the League and its clubs had moved on from the idea of an International Round some time before The FA started structuring the 2018 Bid Company and associated positions.

“I will be writing to the Select Committee to provide them with the accurate facts in this matter."

From INSIDER’s James Corbett at the House of Parliament.

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