FA appoints QC to review Lord Triesman allegations

The Football Association has appointed a leading lawyer to review allegations of misconduct by Fifa officials during England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

James Dingemans QC has been asked to independently review the claims made by former FA chairman Lord Triesman to a Parliamentary select committee.

Triesman claimed that four Fifa members sought "bribes" in return for backing England's bid to host the 2018 finals.

Dingemans is due to report his findings to the FA and Fifa by Friday, 27 May.

FA chairman David Bernstein told BBC Sport: "It is very important now, given the import of these allegations, that there is a chance to see what evidence there is behind them and if they are going to be taken further by ourselves and Fifa.

"These are very serious accusations and they have been made some time after the event and with the benefit of parliamentary privilege.

"This inquiry was the idea of myself and Alex Horne, the [FA] general secretary, but we heard almost immediately after that Fifa were very supportive of our doing this.

"The very eminent, independent QC who we have appointed will do this in a very tight timescale. We've asked him to do it within a couple of weeks and he will report directly to the FA board and to Fifa as well.

"What the QC will do, I'm sure, is speak to Lord Triesman, but also to other people as well who were around the World Cup bid, both to see if they will verify the allegations or whether they have contrary views.

"Another issue that is coming out of this involves the governance of the FA. Was the FA board told about these things at the time?

"I'm interested to know the answer because I'm concerned now that the FA works at the highest standards of corporate governance and move this forward.

"Up to now I've been against investigations into the World Cup bid, but I think that game has changed somewhat, given what Lord Triesman said to a select committee with huge publicity."

Bernstein refused to be drawn on the validity of the separate allegations, but added: "Lord Triesman is a serious person and he would not make unfounded allegations."

The FA chairman also admitted that he would "not even dream" of entertaining the request for a knighthood - one of the claims made by Triesman against Paraguay's Nicolas Leoz - in exchange for his backing.

Dingemans became head of chambers at 3 Hare Court in October 2010. He sits as deputy High Court judge in the Administrative Court and is also Master of the Bench of the Inner Temple.

He was appointed senior counsel to the Hutton Inquiry in 2003 and is a member of the advisory panel for the Rugby Football League.

Lord Triesman - who was initially chairman of England's World Cup bid - made the allegations about Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, Leoz, Brazilian Ricardo Teixeira and Thai Worawi Makudi, all of whom are members of the world football governing body's executive committee.

Speaking before a British parliamentary select committee inquiry into the governance of football in England and the country's failure to secure the right to host the 2018 World Cup finals, Lord Triesman said their behaviour was "below what would be ethically acceptable".

However, Warner said the allegations made against him by Triesman were "a piece of nonsense", while Teixeira, the Brazilian football federation president, labelled the accusations as "absurd" and said he was considering legal action.

The FA said on Thursday it plans to send a full dossier of the latest allegations of corruption to Fifa as soon as possible and the world governing body's president Sepp Blatter promised swift action to deal with the new claims.

Fifa has also asked for evidence from the Sunday Times after it made claims of bribery in the 2022 voting process.

Conservative MP Damian Collins, who sits on the committee that heard Lord Triesman's claims, said evidence submitted by the newspaper claimed Fifa executive committee members Issa Hayatou, from Cameroon, and Jacques Anouma, from the Ivory Coast, were paid $1.5m (£920,000) by the successful Qatar 2022 bid.

Hayatou, president of the Confederation of African Football (Caf), "categorically rejected" allegations of bribery in a statement on the Caf website on Wednesday.

Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian football confederation who did much to secure the 2022 World Cup for his country, has insisted Qatar paid no bribes.

Fifa insists the voting process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups was conducted cleanly.

England were knocked out in the first round with only two votes as Russia were awarded the tournament, while Qatar were named 2022 hosts.

Meanwhile, the FA has confirmed they may abstain in the Fifa presidential vote on 1 June.

The FA will decide which candidate - if any - to back at a board meeting on 19 May.

Bernstein said there were three options: to vote for current incumbent Blatter, his rival Bin Hammam, or to abstain from voting.

An abstention looks increasingly likely but Bernstein insisted he would follow the overall wishes of board members.

Bernstein added: "We will look at the recent events and take that on board. There are two candidates and three possible decisions."

Top Stories