The chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee, Claudio Sulser, has looked into the allegations to which former Football Association and England 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Bid Committee chairman Lord Triesman recently made reference.
Among others, Lord Triesman reported allegations whereby Spain could drop its 2018 FIFA World Cup™ bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this summer’s 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
Following the publication of these reports, the FIFA Ethics Committee asked Lord Triesman and The Football Association to provide their comments on the matter.
According to the statements received by FIFA from both parties, Lord Triesman commented on “speculation circulating among journalists in Europe about conspiracies around the world” in a private conversation with a friend that was taped – unbeknown to him – and then passed to a UK newspaper.
In his letter to FIFA, Lord Triesman explained that this speculation was not an allegation on his part but was reported to him in a private capacity and was not known by either The Football Association or the England 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Bid Committee. This was confirmed by The Football Association.
Lord Triesman added that the speculation expressed does not reflect his view or that of The Football Association or the England 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Bid Committee, and that the comments reproduced in the UK newspaper were never intended to be taken seriously.
By means of letters sent to FIFA and to the football associations of Spain and Russia, The Football Association and the England 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Bid Committee have unreservedly apologised for and expressed their “bitter regret” at the declarations made by Lord Triesman in his private capacity. The FA confirmed that Lord Triesman had stepped down from his role as chairman of The Football Association and of the England Bid Committee after those allegations were published.
In addition, FIFA has been in contact with the Russian FA and the Spanish FA and received correspondence from both associations on this matter. FIFA has also examined all of the information received from various sources. Following this thorough investigation, FIFA has found no indication that there is any basis to the allegations reported by Lord Triesman.
In the light of the above-mentioned circumstances, the chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee has decided not to pursue this matter any further. However, he emphasised that it is essential to the integrity, image and reputation of FIFA and the competitions that the conduct of the member associations and the bid committees during their bid preparations complies with the highest standards of ethical behaviour.
The FIFA Ethics Committee will remain vigilant to ensure that ethical conduct and fair play is respected in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™.