LONDON, England, May 10 – FIFA was rocked by new allegations of corruption on Tuesday, with England's 2018 World Cup bid chairman accusing senior officials of demanding cash and honours in return for votes.
In explosive testimony before a parliamentary select committee, Lord David Triesman spoke at length on the story behind England’s disastrous World Cup campaign, which ended in a humiliating defeat in Zurich last December.
Triesman highlighted incidents involving four officials that took place in the years leading to the Zurich vote which had given him cause for concern.
He revealed that Jack Warner, the influential head of the North and Central American federation CONCACAF, had demanded to be paid directly around £2.5 million (4m dollars) for construction of schools in Trinidad.
"He was concerned he had nothing he could regard as his legacy, he had in mind some kind of school of educational establishment," Triesman revealed.
Triesman, who had met Warner along with England 2018 deputy chairman Sir Dave Richards, said the request was rejected immediately.
"I said immediately the proposition was out of the question. Sir Dave said ‘You must be joking Jack. You’re probably talking about £2.5 million.
"Jack nodded at that. He said that the money could be channelled through him and he would guarantee the funds would be appropriately spent."
In a second incident involving Warner, Triesman revealed how the Trinidadian offical had contacted him following the devastating Haiti earthquake in January 2010 which claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people.
Triesman said Warner had suggested that "somebody could make a donation" to secure rights to broadcast the 2010 World Cup in Haiti on giant television screens in order to lift the spirits of the shattered nation.
"He said £500,000 sent to him he could secure those rights," Triesman said. "I said that would be out of the question. Sometime later it was put to me that he was the owner of those rights."
In another incident, Triesman revealed that Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz, the head of the South American federation CONMEMBOL, had requested a knighthood during a meeting in Asuncion in November 2009.
"I said it was completely impossible, we didn’t operate like that. He shrugged his shoulders and walked away," Triesman said.
The same month, Triesman and English bid members met Brazilian official Ricardo Teixeira on the sidelines of a England-Brazil friendly in Doha.
After remarking to Teixeira that he was happy to have heard positive sentiment about England’s bid from former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Teixeira had replied: "Lula is nothing, you come and tell me what you have for me."
"I thought it was a surprising way of putting it and a shocking way of putting it," Triesman said.
The fourth official named by Triesman was Thailand’s Worawi Makudi, who had demanded to be awarded broadcasting rights of a possible friendly match between England and Thailand in Bangkok that had been pencilled in for 2011.
"It wasn’t something we could or should organise," Triesman said.
England were knocked out in the second round of the World Cup ballot last December, mustering just two of 22 votes. Russia later went on to win with 13 votes.