Monday 11 December 2017

Prince William and David Cameron among those named in Fifa corruption scandal

Long-awaited report highlights how far football bosses went in their bid to court executives

Prince William. Photo: Getty Images
Prince William. Photo: Getty Images

Robert Mendick

Prince William and David Cameron were embroiled in the football corruption row last night as the full extent of England’s failed attempt to stage the 2018 World Cup was made public.

The former prime minister and the prince were at a meeting during which a vote-swapping deal between England and South Korea was discussed, according to an official report released last night.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Getty Images
Former Prime Minister David Cameron. Photo: Getty Images

The long-awaited Fifa report has disclosed the lengths to which England’s football bosses went to court Fifa executives, many of them now discredited, as they sought to secure votes for England’s 2018 bid.

At one point officials discussed the possibility of arranging a meeting with Queen Elizabeth for a Fifa representative whose vote could have helped England.

The report reveals how Mr Cameron asked the South Korean delegation to back England’s bid, only to be told that England would have to agree to reciprocate by pledging support for South Korea’s bid to host the 2022 tournament.

Such a vote-swapping deal, the report concluded, was in “violation of the anti-collusion rules”.

The report, written in 2014 by Fifa’s then chief ethics investigator Michael Garcia, details how England bid officials interacted with Fifa officials in the run-up to the vote.

It discloses how they were asked to bestow an honorary knighthood and arrange an audience with the queen for one South American official.

England 2018 officials arranged jobs at Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur football clubs for the “adopted son” of one official. They even considered a request by the same official, the Trinidad and Tobago Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, to have his hometown twinned with an “English village”.

The FA offered Burton upon Trent, in Staffordshire, as a potential twin town.

The report discloses how Mr Cameron met Fifa vice president Mong-Joon Chung of South Korea in Prince William’s suite at the Baur au lac Hotel in Zurich on the eve of the vote in December 2010.

“The prime minister asked Mr Chung to vote for England’s bid, and Mr Chung responded that he would if Mr [Geoff] Thompson [chairman of England’s bid] voted for Korea [to host the 2022 tournament],” states the report.

The queen is also named in the report after it emerged that FA chiefs met with a senior Fifa official in 2009 who asked for an audience with the monarch. It is alleged that Nicolas Leoz, president of the South American Football Confederation, suggested the possibility of an honorary knighthood.

In the meeting with Lord Triesman, the then FA chairman, it is alleged that Dr Leoz said that “he believed that a knighthood from the United Kingdom would be appropriate”.

The attempts to court Mr Warner, then a Fifa vice president and president of North, Central American and Caribbean football confederation, and his astonishing demands are also revealed in full for the first time.

“England 2018’s response shows an unfortunate willingness, time and again, to meet that expectation [of Mr Warner],” concludes the report.

England were knocked out in the first round after receiving only two votes. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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