England Cup bid chief quits

LONDON - The chairperson of England's bid to host the World Cup resigned yesterday after making bribery allegations against 2018 campaign rivals Spain and Russia.

LONDON - The chairperson of England's bid to host the World Cup resigned yesterday after making bribery allegations against 2018 campaign rivals Spain and Russia.

David Triesman, who is also chairperson of the English Football Association, was secretly taped by The Mail suggesting Spain was planning to bribe referees at this year's World Cup with the help of Russia, which didn't qualify. The story featured in yesterday's newspaper.

England's World Cup bid team had earlier faxed letters of apology to the Spanish and Russian football federations as well as Fifa, insisting they don't support Triesman's allegations.

On Friday, Triesman joined former England captain David Beckham at Fifa headquarters in Zurich to hand over England's official bid book to president Sepp Blatter.

The newspaper taped Triesman making a series of allegations about England's bid rivals while talking two weeks ago with Melissa Jacobs, a former aide from his time as a government minister.

"I think the Africans we are doing very well with (winning their votes), I think we're doing kind of well with some of the Asians.

"(We're) probably doing well with Central and North America," Triesman was quoted as saying. "My assumption is that the Latin Americans, although they've not said so, will vote for Spain.

"And if Spain drop out, because Spain are looking for help from the Russians to help bribe the referees in the World Cup, their votes may then switch to Russia."

Triesman then added that "I think Russia will cut deals", claiming the Russians have "absolutely nothing at all to lose".

In Europe, Spain is bidding jointly with Portugal to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup as are Belgium and Netherlands, while England and Russia are standing alone.

Australia and the United States are also bidding for either tournament while Japan, Qatar and South Korea are concentrating on 2022, believing Europe is favoured for 2018.

Fifa's 24-man executive committee will decide the hosts for both tournaments in a vote in December.

Triesman had told a briefing earlier in the week that he hoped England would succeed in Cup bidding by running a fair campaign. - Sapa-AP

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