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Triesman quits as England's 2018 bid is thrown into jeopardy

Mon 17th May 2010 | Football Governance

Lord Triesman resigned as chairman of both The Football Association and England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup..

An article in the Mail on Sunday reported that he suggested Spain could drop its 2018 bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this summer's World Cup.

The England 2018 team has apologised to the Russian and Spanish FA’s as it tries to rescue the World Cup bid with a FIFA decision due in December.

FA board members David Sheepshanks and Roger Burden have been drafted in as acting joint-chairmen of England's governing body, while Geoff Thompson is the new chairman of the World Cup bid.

Thompson, who was chairman of the FA between 1999 and 2008 before Triesman succeeded him, joined the bid board last year.

The 64-year-old is also the only English member of the FIFA Executive Committee - the 24 men who vote on the World Cup hosts.

The revelations came only two days after former England captain David Beckham had helped the FA submit a 1,752-page bid book as they try to persuade Fifa to award England the 2018 World Cup.

Said Triesman in a statement: ‘I have decided to resign as chairman of the FA and the 2018 Bid board. A private conversation with someone whom I thought to be a friend was taped without my knowledge and passed to a national newspaper.

‘That same friend has also chosen to greatly exaggerate the extent of our friendship. In that conversation I commentated on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world. Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously, as indeed is the case with many private conversations.

‘Entrapment, especially by a friend, is an unpleasant experience both for my family and me but it leaves me with no alternative but to resign.’

Apart from the damage to The FA that may be created within FIFA, the world governing body's rules prohibit World Cup bidders from talking about rival bids.

After the good publicity that was generated by the 2018 team and Beckham on Friday it remains to be seen what effect Triesman's reported comments are likely to have on the FA's 2018 bid.

The FA tried unsuccessfully to get an injunction against publication of the Triesman story on privacy grounds.

The Mail on Sunday quotes Triesman as saying: ‘There's some evidence that the Spanish football authorities are trying to identify the referees...and pay them.

‘My assumption is that the Latin Americans, although they've not said so, will vote for Spain. And if Spain drop out, because Spain are looking for help from the Russians to help bribe the referees in the World Cup, their votes may then switch to Russia.’

But in his statement Triesman said: ‘The views expressed were not the views of the 2018 bid board or the FA.

‘Nobody should be under any misapprehension that the FA or 2018 bid board are disrespectful of other nations or FIFA and I regret any such inference that may have been drawn from what has been reported.’

A European bid is tipped to get the 2018 tournament with England up against Russia and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands.

The other bidders, although they are mainly focused on the 2022 tournament, are Australia, the United States, Japan, Qatar and South Korea.



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