Chairman of England World Cup bid makes embarrassing gaffe.
Lord Triesman is to stand down as chairman of the Football Association as well as the England 2018 World Cup bid.
His exit follows what he has called his “entrapment” by the Mail on Sunday.
The newspaper article said he suggested Spain could drop its 2018 bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at this summer’s World Cup.
The England 2018 team has apologised to the Russian and Spanish FAs as it tries to rescue the World Cup bid with a Fifa decision due in December.
FA board members David Sheepshanks and Roger Burden have been drafted in as acting joint-chairmen of England’s governing body, while Geoff Thompson is the new chairman of the World Cup bid.
Thompson, who was chairman of the FA between 1999 and 2008 before Triesman succeeded him, joined the bid board last year.
The 64-year-old is also the only English member of the Fifa Executive Committee – the 24 men who vote on the World Cup hosts.
The Mail on Sunday revelations came only two days after former England captain David Beckham had helped the FA submit a 1,752-page bid book as they try to persuade Fifa to award England the 2018 World Cup.
“I have decided to resign as chairman of the FA and the 2018 Bid board,” Triesman said in a statement.
“A private conversation with someone whom I thought to be a friend was taped without my knowledge and passed to a national newspaper,” he added, referring to former aide Melissa Jacobs, who met Triesman a fortnight ago.
“That same friend has also chosen to greatly exaggerate the extent of our friendship.
“In that conversation I commentated on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world. Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously, as indeed is the case with many private conversations.
“Entrapment, especially by a friend, is an unpleasant experience both for my family and me but it leaves me with no alternative but to resign.” (BBC Sport)
So there you have it. Lord Triesman was caught out by a woman who claims he was having a six month affair with her, a former aide to the chairman of the Football Association, who recorded a conversation between the two where the 66 year old outlined his theory as to how deals may be done between Spain and Russia to help serve both countries interests. This is how the Daily Mail reported Triesman’s remarks
During their hour long conversation – which was secretly recorded – Lord Triesman made a series of indiscreet and highly-damaging allegations about the football industry and people in it.
At the very beginning of their conversation he told Miss Jacobs: ‘There’s some evidence that the Spanish football authorities are trying to identify the referees… and pay them.’
He repeated the allegation-while outlining his theory that Russia, who are not in this year’s World Cup finals, plan to bribe officials to favour Spain.
Meetings: Lord Triesman meets with Melissa Jacobs at Paul Patisserie on Marylebone High Street
The alleged quid pro quo was that the Spanish FA should then vote for Russia to hold the 2018 tournament.
Lord Triesman said: ‘Spain are looking for help from the Russians to help bribe the referees in the World Cup, their votes may then switch to Russia.’
At this point Miss Jacobs asked: ‘Would Russia help with that?’ Lord Triesman: ‘Oh, I think Russia will cut deals.’ (Daily Mail)
Now clearly Triesman has no choice but to fall on his sword and any claim to being entrapped are somewhat pointless when you are a public figure who makes such shocking claims. The fear is that any dirt created by this scandal sticks to the 2018 bid and in some way costs the country its chance to host the World Cup for the first time since 1966. Quite frankly FIFA doesn’t need much to muddy England’s hopes of winning the bid and this bit of idiocy could well be a death knell to any bid being won.