UK Sports Minister Claims England Could Break from FIFA

May 11, 2011

The UK government’s Sports Minister Hugh Robertson has suggested England could break away from world soccer’s governing body, FIFA, if it does not address allegations of corruption within the organisation.

Yesterday, May 10, Former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman claimed four FIFA members sought “bribes” in return for backing England’s failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Robertson stated: “There is a desire to try and work and change FIFA from the inside. If FIFA proves unable to do that, then I would say all options are possible.”.

During a parliamentary inquiry into England’s failure to host the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday, Triesman alleged FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, Paraguayan Nicolas Leoz, Brazilian Ricardo Teixeira and Thai Worawi Makudi sought “bribes” in return for backing England’s bid.

In response to the fresh corruption allegations, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has pledged to take immediate action if any evidence of wrongdoing is presented to the body.

Robertson has urged FIFA to adopt greater transparency in its bidding process and conduct similar internal reforms implemented by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) following the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics campaign scandal.

He added: “The first thing is the allegations are brought to the attentions of FIFA and make sure that happens in concert with the FA.

“We have to back that up with evidence and I would hope FIFA follow the example of the International Olympic Committee, who went through a similar process after Salt Lake City.

“There is nobody currently bidding for the 2018 Winter Olympics who doesn’t believe their system is fair and transparent – FIFA needs to be in the same position.”