British MPs slam soccer chiefs over 2018 bid

The Football Association (FA) and world football governing body FIFA were both severly criticised in a British parliamentary report  into England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid published Tuesday.
   FA bosses were accused of failing to learn from their previous failed bids while FIFA were said to want sweep corruption scandals “under the carpet”.
   England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup, won by Russia, managed to secure just two votes — one of which was their own — despite a last-ditch lobbying effort involving Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince William.
   The 2018 debacle followed on from the FA’s failed 2006 World Cup  bid and the report said: “England’s bid team appears to have lacked  a number of the components of a successful bid.
   “Lessons did not appear to have been learned from previous studies with regard to the composition and unity of the bid team, and the messages it needed to project.
   “More fundamentally, it appears that the groundwork for a successful bid had not been laid effectively with football’s international bodies.”    The report added the committee was ”appalled” by the corruption allegations that emerged during and after the bidding process, saying FIFA should have tackled these much sooner.
   “Instead, FIFA has given every impression of wishing to sweep all allegations of misconduct under the carpet and of dismissing anyone bringing allegations to them with an approach bordering on contempt,” the report said.
   However, the committee were unable to substantiate allegations of corruption against four FIFA members made to then by Lord David Triesman, the former head of both the FA and the England 2018 bid.
   The report added it was “frustrating and disappointing” Triesman  did not raise his allegations of corruption when he first became aware of them.
   The report also called FIFA’s decision to drop the bribery investigation following the resignation of vice-president Jack Warner “extraordinary”.
   “It suggests that nothing has changed,” the report said.
   “As a first step towards restoring confidence we call upon FIFA to publish the ethics committee report.”  

  Committee chairman John Whittingdale said: ”FIFA’s governance and its process for awarding competitions is in need of fundamental  reform.”  

  An FA spokesman said: ”The FA notes the publication of the select committee’s report into the 2018 World Cup bid and FIFA and will review the findings and recommendations in due course.”   

 Both Warner, from Trinidad and Tobago, and Qatar’s Mohamed Bin Hammam were provisionally suspended on May 29 from FIFA as a result  of bribery probes.
   Warner, the influential head of the Caribbean, North and Central  American Federation (CONCACAF), resigned and so spared himself further investiagtion by FIFA’s ethics committee.
   Now that committee’s lone task is to examine the conduct of Bin Hammam, who is accused of having bribed FIFA officials in his campaign to oust Sepp Blatter as FIFA president.
   Bin Hammam later withdrew from the race and Blatter was returned  unopposed.
   Both Bin Hammam and Warner have consistently denied any wrongdoing, but a leaked ethics committee report said there was “overwhelming evidence” Bin Hammam used bribery in his presidential  campaign. – Sapa-AFP

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