FIFA to Investigate Allegations Claiming Spain Bribed Referees at World Cup


ZURICH — FIFA asked its ethics committee on Monday to investigate claims by former English Football Association chairman David Triesman that Spain is trying to bribe referees at the World Cup.

Triesman quit Sunday after being secretly recorded by a tabloid newspaper suggesting Russia was going to help Spain bribe referees at the World Cup in return for gaining its rival's support in the race to host the 2018 or 2022 tournament.

"FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has requested the FIFA Ethics Committee to examine the alleged statements made by Lord Triesman in relation to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups," world football's governing body said in a statement.

"In addition, FIFA has sent a letter to The Football Association asking The FA to provide a report on this matter, including Lord Triesman's position. FIFA will not make any further comment on this matter until it has been dealt with by the FIFA Ethics Committee."

The investigation is a further setback to England's faltering bid to host the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

The Mail on Sunday taped the 66-year-old Triesman two weeks ago talking with Melissa Jacobs, a former aide from his time as a government minister, but didn't publish the damaging allegations until two days after he presented England's official bid book to FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

The bid board had hoped that replacing Triesman on Sunday with Geoff Thompson — a vice president of FIFA and UEFA — would draw a line under the humiliating incident.

Russia also said Monday that it hadn't received the letter of apology the FA claimed to have sent to Moscow.

Spain is bidding jointly with Portugal to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, as are Belgium and Netherlands, while England and Russia are bidding on their own. Australia and the United States are also bidding for either tournament, while Japan, Qatar and South Korea are concentrating on 2022 as they believe a European nation is favored to win for 2018.

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