Is swift Triesman action enough to save 2018 bid?
Once it became clear that his private and indiscreet chat with a former civil service colleague was out in the public domain, senior figures on the bid team and inside the Football Association began distancing themselves from damaging claims of collusion between the Spanish and Russian FAs to bribe referees at this summer's World Cup. I will return to this bizarre conspiracy theory in a moment.
Around midday on Sunday, Lord Triesman told colleagues on the 2018 bid board that he would step down.
This came after a frenetic morning of meetings and phone calls between key figures including head of international strategy David Dein, Lord Sebastian Coe, who splits his time between his 2018 role and his day job as chairman of the London Olympic organising committee for the 2012 Games, and Keith Mills, also a member of the 2018 and London 2012 boards.
As soon as the story broke at 2200 BST on Saturday, the 2018 team were engaged in a damage limitation exercise. Messages were sent to the Spanish and Russian 2018 bid teams disowning Triesman's remarks and apologising.
Coe is due to telephone the Fifa president Sepp Blatter later on Sunday to make the bid team's position clear and to explain it has moved swiftly to deal with his comments.
Dein is now the front-runner to take over from Triesman as interim chairman with Coe and Mills likely to step up their involvement in the next few weeks.
By moving so swiftly and decisively, the 2018 team hope they will help avoid any lasting damage from Triesman's remarks.
Just to recap, Triesman was allegedly caught on tape telling Melissa Jacobs, a former colleague and friend from his days as a government minister, that the Spanish FA was looking to bribe referees in South Africa at next month's World Cup finals.
To help them, they had, according to Triesman, enlisted the backing of the Russians who would join the referees plot in return for their support in subsequent voting rounds should Spain go out early in the election of the 2018 World Cup hosts in December.
Now, I have covered quite a few of these bids and you hear all sorts of wild conspiracy theories for why certain members of the 24-strong Fifa executive vote the way they do. But I have never heard anything quite as far fetched as this.
Above all else, it would require the three Fifa members from Latin America (two of whom are from Brazil and Argentina) assumed to support Spain and Portugal's 2018 bid to collude in a bid to give Spain an advantage at this summer's World Cup, by swinging behind the Russians once Spain and Portugal are eliminated. It makes no sense.
Senseless or not, Triesman - usually such an engaging and accomplished administrator - has said it and will have to pay the price. As a senior member of the Labour Party (he was a former general secretary and also served as a foreign office minister), Triesman must have seen political colleagues reach the critical moment when they know there is no turning back.
On Sunday morning, he would have experienced that feeling himself and as he read through the Mail on Sunday's story he would have reached the only decent conclusion - that he had to walk the plank.
So where does this leave the 2018 bid?
In short, they are going to find it incredibly difficult to recover from this.
Fifa's executive committee members (one of whom is Spanish and another Russian) will be absolutely furious at the head of a bid making such claims against rival bids. It is forbidden in the rules laid down by Fifa for the bid process but even if it wasn't wrong, it would be a resigning matter.
Even before these extraordinary claims, England 2018 had suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks.
First we had the comments from Fifa vice-president Jack Warner in October that England's bid was lightweight. Then we had the Mulberry handbag gaffe where the wives of all 24 members of the Fifa executive were sent gifts in contravention of the bidding rules.
And that all culminated in the November resignation of Sir David Richards after a reshuffle of the 2018 bid board.
Since December's World Cup draw in Cape Town however, and thanks mainly to the presence of David Beckham, England's bid has been back on track.
David Beckham hands over England's 2018 bid book to Sepp Blatter on Friday. Photo: Getty
Last Friday's presentation of the bid book to Blatter went well and there was a confidence among leaders. In fact Triesman told me in an interview last Thursday that if the vote had been on Friday, England would have won it.
Even if that interpretation may have been wishful thinking, the opposite is certainly true now.
Those left to pick up the pieces are describing it as the 2018 bid's 'Panorama' moment - a reference to the 2004 crisis for the London 2012 Olympic bid when a BBC investigation claimed members of the International Olympic Committee were open to bribes.
But that was a legitmate piece of journalism. They may not have liked it but ultimately those members of the IOC less used to a free and open press, had to accept that it was beyond the control of Coe and other senior members at London 2012.
Triesman's comments are far less easy to explain and this problem will not be solved by just removing him from the 2018 position and leaving him in charge at the FA. The 2018 bid team may be run by a separate subsidiary company but it is the national FA which submits the bid.
Blatter and Fifa will not be able to understand why he is still head of the FA after making such remarks and any failure to deal with that part of the problem swiftly will probably leave the bid dead in the water.
For the FA it leaves them facing another period of enormous upheaval. The organisation is already without a permanent chief executive following Ian Watmore's resignation in March and serious issues over finances and the future of Wembley lie ahead.
Today 2018 is the priority and Triesman's swift removal may give them a slim chance of salvaging the campaign. Sorting out the FA will be far more complicated.
Following a lengthy FA board meeting on Sunday afternoon, David Triesman has just issued a statement confirming he has stepped down as both chairman of the FA and of the 2018 World Cup bid team.
David Sheepshanks, the former Ipswich chairman, and Roger Burden, the head of the national game board, have been appointed joint interim chairmen of the FA.
An interim replacement for Triesman at the head of the 2018 board is yet to be named but it is likely Triesman's predecessor Geoff Thompson, who is a vice-chairman of Fifa and member of the 24-man executive, will be given the job of trying to patch up the damage done by Sunday's damaging bribe claims.
For the second time in a week, the FA have moved swiftly and decisively to deal with a major problem. The first, England manager Fabio Capello's new ratings website, was postponed until after the World Cup amid concerns it would undermine his relationship with the players in South Africa.
By removing Triesman so quickly the FA and England 2018 will hope they can salvage some credibility.
In his resignation statement, Triesman said: "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."
I know there is a lot of sympathy among readers of my earlier blog for the fact Triesman has been the victim of a media sting. In fact, it is understood the members of the FA board accepted Triesman's resignation with some reluctance and regret at this embarrassing turn of events.
But the fact is he is an experienced and accomplished former politician and he should have been more discreet in his remarks.
Triesman and English football have paid a heavy price for those comments.