Lord T (the man who got his title for being there and doing things for government) told the select committee of the British Parliament that is taking a peek under the carpet of football and pulling out all the mucky bits, that the Fifa vice-president Jack Warner asked for around £2.5m to build an education centre in Trinidad with the cash going via his handbag. He also wanted £500,000 to buy Haiti’s World Cup TV rights. Oh yes and just for simplicity he also wants that to go via himself. Just for safety’s sake.
Did we hear of this at the time? No. Were the fraud squad told? Did it make world news? No, because Lord T thought we might win the bid. Corruption at the heart of British government as well as at the heart of football.
The man from Paraguay, Nicolás Leoz, wanted a knighthood (saying that Lord T, as a man who had got the freebies out of the British government himself with his peerage, ought to know how these things work.
The man from Brazil, Ricardo Teixeira, asked Lord Turnip, sorry Triesman to “come and tell me what you have got for me”.
The man from Thailand’s, Woraw Makudi, wanted the TV rights to a friendly between England and the Thai national team. Personally.
The prime minister didn’t really want to know. He said, “Ultimately, Fifa are the world governing body of football and it is for them, if need be, to do the things that they need to do to put their house in order. Clearly they need to reassure the sporting public and fans that there is no suggestion of corruption or any problems with competition for these kinds of major sporting events.”
So how did our FA get so mired in the dirt. Come to that, we had a Prince in there too. And a new prime minister. Mind you the PM was used to giving out knighthoods and peerages so maybe he thought the request was just the normal run of the mill.
As it is in sport. Juan Antonio Samaranch, former president of the International Olympic Committee, was given Spain’s Collar of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, Ukraine’s Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, and the Order of the White Double Cross, First Class, from Slovakia – at least according to the Guardian, who know about this stuff.
Quite clearly the desire to cover up corruption goes to the very top of football in the country – just as it does in politics.
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