Tuesday - May 10th, mail.com had this for sports:
6 FIFA members accused of wrongdoing in bidding
LONDON (AP) — Soccer's governing body was hit with new corruption allegations Tuesday when six FIFA executive committee members were accused of receiving or demanding bribes during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were allegedly paid $1.5 million to vote for Qatar, according to evidence submitted to a British parliamentary inquiry by The Sunday Times newspaper.
The Gulf nation beat the United States in the final round of voting in December for the 2022 tournament. Qatar's soccer federation released a statement later Tuesday, denying the "serious and baseless" allegations that will "remain unproven because they are false."
The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons also heard from the former head of England's 2018 bid, who described the conduct of executive committee members Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi in the 2018 contest as "improper and unethical."
The parliamentary panel is looking into England's failed bid for the World Cup as part of a wider inquiry into soccer governance.
In Zurich, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he will ask for evidence that supports the claims and forward any allegations to the FIFA ethics committee.
"I cannot say they are all angels or they are all devils," he said of the executive members.
Blatter said once FIFA had the evidence, it would act immediately against anyone who violated the organization's ethical code.
Referring to his bid for re-election next month against Mohammed bin Hammam of Qatar, Blatter said: "I'm fighting to clear FIFA, I'm fighting to clean FIFA."
Bin Hammam, speaking from Trinidad, countered claims that self-interest is rife within soccer's governing body.
"FIFA is not corrupted. We are victims of the popularity of the game," Bin Hammam said.
The bidding contest was rocked even before the vote when The Sunday Times published in October details of an undercover investigation that led to two of FIFA's 24 executive committee members being suspended.
Amos Adamu of Nigeria was found guilty by FIFA's ethics court of soliciting bribes from undercover reporters, while Reynald Temarii of Tahiti was banned for breaching rules on confidentiality and loyalty.
The British newspaper sent further evidence — which it did not publish at the time for legal reasons — to the British committee on Monday to be made public using parliamentary privilege.
Two of the paper's investigative journalists told the committee in a letter that a whistleblower who had worked for the Qatari bid told them in December that the country "had paid $1.5 million to two FIFA ExCo members — Hayatou and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast — to secure their votes."
Reporters Jonathan Calvert and Claire Newell added that "a similar deal had been struck with Amos Adamu, although he was prevented from voting because he was suspended following our original article."
Calvert and Newell said the whistleblower — who was not identified — told them the cash would go to the three members' soccer federations, but "there would be no questions asked about how the money was used."
"It was said in such a way that 'We are giving it to you,'" they quoted the whistleblower as saying. "It was going to their federation. Basically, if they took it into their pocket, we don't give a jack."
"The whistleblower's allegations raise questions about the validity of Qatar's wining bid," Calvert and Newell wrote. "Hayatou and Anouma are both reported to have voted for Qatar."
While the reporters acknowledge the allegations are unproven, they wrote: "We believe they were credible because they were made by people who held or had held official positions in FIFA."
The Qatar soccer federation said in its statement that the allegations "are evidently wholly unreliable," citing the newspaper's refusal to publish them as indicating they wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.
"As soon as we were informed about these allegations — before The Sunday Times published their expose — we informed FIFA and offered our full support for any investigations into the matter," the statement read. "FIFA's Ethics Committee investigated certain allegations, and entirely exonerated the Qatar 2022 bid.
"We have nothing to hide and are prepared to support and cooperate with any further investigations and will be happy to counter any allegations from whistleblowers with real evidence."
Hayatou also has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 2001.
The session also heard from David Triesman, who resigned as chairman of England's Football Association and its 2018 bid team last May — seven months before the vote — after being secretly recorded by a tabloid newspaper making unproven claims that Spain and Russia set up a bribery scam to influence referees at the 2010 World Cup.
Triesman — a member of the House of Lords — made the allegations about Warner, Leoz, Teixeira and Makudi to the committee.
He claimed that Warner, a FIFA vice president and CONCACAF president from Trinidad and Tobago, asked for money — suggested to be about $4.1 million — to build an education center in Trinidad and for about $820,000 to buy Haiti's World Cup TV rights.
"I have never asked Triesman nor any other person, Englishman or otherwise, for any money for my vote at any time," Warner said in a statement to British TV channel Sky Sports News.
Triesman also said that Leoz, of Paraguay, asked for an honorary knighthood, while Makudi of Thailand allegedly wanted to receive money from English TV for them to broadcast a planned friendly against the country.
Triesman claimed that Teixeira, a Brazilian, asked him to "come and tell me what you have got for me."
"These were some of the things that were put to me personally, sometimes in the presence of others, which in my view did not represent proper and ethical behavior on the part of members of the executive committee," Triesman said.
The British government responded to the allegations by calling on FIFA to look at how the IOC adopted strict rules following the Salt Lake City bidding scandal in 1999. Ten IOC members resigned or were expelled in the affair.
"The International Olympic Committee had to face up to big challenges after the award of the Olympics to Salt Lake City and they took serious action and restored confidence in their processes," said Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who oversees sport in Britain. "FIFA needs to do the same."
And then today, this shit went down:
Triesman told British lawmakers that four long-standing FIFA officials — Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz, Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi — requested bribes in the 2018 bidding.
Lawmakers were also told in a submission from The Sunday Times that Qatar paid $1.5 million to two more FIFA officials, Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma, in the 2022 contest. Qatar won the vote, beating the United States in the final round.
Valcke requested detailed evidence in order to "examine the situation thoroughly and with clear-sightedness," FIFA said.
As FIFA's top administrator, responsibility falls on Valcke to ask FIFA's ethics court to open official investigations against any of the six under suspicion.
A previous FIFA ethics probe based on a Sunday Times investigation threw the 2018 and 2022 bid races into chaos during the final weeks of campaigning before the December vote.
Two members of FIFA's executive committee, Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, were barred from voting for their part in the corruption allegations.
Blatter said Wednesday that the past experience would help FIFA deal with the latest scandal, which means that one third of the 24-man executive committee has been implicated in World Cup bid corruption claims.
"It is not the first time and we know how to react now," Blatter said. "Once we have the evidence then we can decide where we go, if we go, in the investigation — an administrative investigation or directly to the ethics committee."
FIFA said Valcke has asked English football officials to provide Parliamentary records of Triesman's testimony.
It also questioned why the newspaper's latest allegations were not provided with other material submitted last October for the previous ethics probe.
"In particular, reference is made in the letter to the allegations regarding a 'whistleblower who had worked with the Qatar bid,' who allegedly made some declarations," FIFA said.
The Qatar football federation has denied paying Hayatou, from Cameroon, and Ivory Coast's Anouma, calling the allegations "wholly unreliable."
Hayatou, the president of the Confederation of African Football, "categorically denies" the claims, the African body said Wednesday. He threatened legal action to defend his name.
Bin Hammam played a key role in delivering the 2022 World Cup to his homeland.
FIFA's most senior American delegate, Chuck Blazer, said the alleged Qatari payments were his "greatest concern" among the English claims, and he expected the newspaper to publish more details on Sunday.
"If it turns out that what they're saying is supported by fact, then I would have a lot to say on the matter," Blazer said, without elaborating on what action he would seek.
The conduct of Warner, Leoz, Teixeira and Makudi in the 2018 contest won by Russia was described as "improper and unethical" by Triesman.
Warner, a FIFA vice president from Trinidad and Tobago, dismissed Triesman's allegations, saying he "laughed like hell" when he heard them on Tuesday.
"I never asked anybody for anything," Warner told Trinidad newspaper Newsday. "When these guys (England) came here, we promised to help. I showed them a place where they can put a playground. They promised to come back but they never did."
Warner said he thinks English officials are bitter after gaining just two votes in the 2018 contest — one from its own representative on the executive committee.
"How come not even one person from Europe voted for them?" Warner told Newsday. "And they're looking for all different reasons. Why don't they, in a dispassionate way, sit down and ask why not one European voted for them?"
Valcke has questioned why the claims — which included incidents said to have occurred in 2009 — were not reported earlier.
"If it was known, why has it not come to our attention? We have called and asked people to let us know whatever you have in this process," Valcke said.
Asked if the World Cup votes should be reopened, Valcke said the process had been conducted cleanly and all known evidence was examined.
Frank Lowy, the chairman of Football Federation Australia, said the allegations meant "I could have stood on my head for 24 months and we still couldn't have got it." Lowy led Australia's bid for the 2022 hosting rights that cost Australian taxpayers about $45 million.
Australia received only one vote and was eliminated in the first round.
"Out of the 44 votes for the two World Cups, Australia, England and America received (a total of) four votes," Lowy told The Australian newspaper Thursday.
"So we were in good company. We had taken precautions before we started the process on who will be in the competition. With China not in, it was one of the conditions why we moved forward. Had they been in, we would certainly have had second thoughts (of pressing ahead)."
British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson said he had discussed the possibility of England breaking away from FIFA along with other countries.
"I have taken the temperature from other football associations around the world, particularly we did that in the wake of the 2018 bid," Robertson told the BBC. "At the moment there is a desire to try to work to change FIFA from the inside. If FIFA is unable to do that then I would say all options are possible.
"But at the moment we very much want to work with them and try to convince them they need to go through exactly the same process that the IOC went through in the post-Salt Lake City process."