The English Football Association (FA) spent the entire day desperately trying to undo all of the damage done to England’s 2018 World Cup bid by Lord Triesman.
Triesman, the former chairman of England’s FA, was forced to resign after he claimed in a taped conversation that rivals Spain and Russia were conspiring to bribe referees in the 2010 World Cup.
The scandal may cost England a shot at the 2018 World Cup bid as well as over $4 billion dollars in revenue from the event.
Despite England’s FA immediately issuing apologies to Russia, Spain and FIFA, the damage done could be irreparable. It is believed that both countries may now go out of their way to make sure that England’s 2018 bid is unsuccessful.
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The head of the Russian camp, Aleksey Sorokin, had this to say:
“The quality of our bid leaves no other alternative for our competitors but to bring up these absurd allegations.”
Sorokin was also asked whether or not Russia would pursue the matter with FIFA.
“We haven’t had that discussion. We hope FIFA will take appropriate measures itself.”
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Spain’s officials remained diplomatic regarding the matter. Their FA secretary general, Jorge Perez Arias was quoted as saying:
“I don’t believe Lord Triesman has said something like this…Mr Triesman and the FA are excellent. We have a superb relationship with them and I just don’t believe what’s being reported. The idea Spain is trying to bribe World Cup referees is of course ridiculous…We like to compete and participate fairly and try always to do the best we can. As far as 2018 goes, we’re trying to progress our bid to host the competition with Portugal.”
After the conversation between him and a former aide were leaked, Triesman came out and claimed to have been the victim of entrapment. The former chairman issued a statement that distanced himself from the English FA, and assured reporters that his comments were meant to be humorous.
Triesman described the conversation in a statement to the media as “a private conversation with someone whom I thought to be a friend” that taped him without his knowledge. .
“That same friend has also chosen to greatly exaggerate the extent of our friendship. In that conversation I commentated on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world. Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously as indeed is the case with many private conversations. The views expressed were not the views of the 2018 bid board or the FA. Nobody should be under any misapprehension that the FA or 2018 bid board are disrespectful of other nations or Fifa and I regret any such inference that may have been drawn from what has been reported. Entrapment, especially by a friend, is an unpleasant experience for me and my family. But it leaves me with no alternative but to resign.”
The new Sports Minister, Hugh Robertson said that Triesman’s decision to resign was the correct one.
“It’s very sad for him on a personal basis but I think it’s entirely the right decision. Clearly the bid is at a crucial stage.”
Triesman has chosen to not comment on the matter any further.