LONDON: Lord David Triesman, former chairman of the Football Associatio, has accused world football federation FIFA of behaving like a “mafia family.”
Triesman, the initial chairman of England’s vain bid to host the 2018 World Cup, was speaking with the benefit of parliamentary privilege during a debate on the Queen’s Speech in the House of Lords.
He spoke up in approval of the stand taken yesterday by the current FA chairman Greg Dyke in rebutting the “grotesque” accusation by FIFA president Sepp Blatter that UK media criticism of the Qatar 2022 bid award had been racist.
Triesman continued the attack on Blatter – from a distance – by saying that dismissing the criticism in such a way was a tactic that would have been approved by the movie godfather depicted by Marlon Brando.
He said: “Don Corleone, I believe, would have recognised the tactics and he probably would have admired them.”
Triesman went on to widen his attack on the world federation, saying: “FIFA, I’m afraid, behaves like a mafia family. It has a decades-long tradition of bribes, bungs and corruption. About half of its executive committee who voted on the last World Cup have had to go. Even its past president João Havelange has been removed from his honorary life presidency in his 90s.
“Systematic corruption underpinned by non-existent investigations where most of the accused are exempt from the investigation make it impossible to proceed.”
Triesman, who has claimed previously that four FIFA exco members sought bribes in return for votes, included the award to Qatar in his criticism, saying: “Foreign construction workers dying in their dozens in Qatar stadium construction sites are essentially ignored.”
FIFA president Blatter refused to be drawn later on Triesman’s remarks.
At a press conference after Congress Blatter commented dismissively: “Lord Triesman is responsible for what he says, I am not going to comment on any saying of Lord Triesman.”