MP asks Fraud Office to investigate World Cup bid claims

Lord Triesman
Image caption Lord Triesman told a committee there had been "improper and unethical" behaviour by Fifa members

The Serious Fraud Office has been asked to investigate allegations Fifa members asked for money and an honour during England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Tory MP Damian Collins has written to the SFO's director to ask for claims made by former England 2018 chair Lord Triesman in May to be investigated.

Lord Triesman told a parliamentary committee there had been "improper and unethical" behaviour by Fifa members.

Fifa has said there is nothing to "prompt any ethics proceedings".

Lord Triesman, who quit as the Football Association chairman last year, made the comments to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport committee in May.

He told the committee that the then-Fifa vice-president Jack Warner asked for money - reportedly £2.5m - to build an education centre in Trinidad, with the cash to be channelled through him, and later £500,000 to buy Haiti's World Cup TV rights for the earthquake-hit nation, also to go through Mr Warner.

He also said Paraguay's Fifa member Nicolas Leoz had asked for a knighthood in exchange for his vote, which he had refused.

Mr Collins, a member of the select committee, believes the allegations may have breached the Fraud Act and the Bribery Act.

His letter to Richard Alderman, director of the SFO, Mr Collins said: "You will be aware of the long-running controversy over the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup involving allegations that officials requested inducements in exchange for their votes.

"On 10 May, Lord Triesman... told the House of Commons culture media and sport committee that Jack Warner (at the time the vice-president of FIFA and president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) and Nicolas Leoz (President of the Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol) had both asked him for bribes in return for voting for the England bid to host the 2018 World Cup...

"I would be interested to know whether the Serious Fraud Office would be prepared to investigate."

The Football Association ordered James Dingemans QC to prepare a report on allegations made by Lord Triesman.

His report was passed to Fifa, who said they had found "no elements in this report which would prompt the opening of any ethics proceedings".

Lord Triesman stepped down from his position last year after the Mail on Sunday claimed he had said that Spain could drop its 2018 bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at last summer's World Cup.

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