ZURICH - An investigation by the British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) accused three FIFA executives of
taking bribes in a programme aired on Monday, three days
before the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups are decided.
The BBC's Panorama programme, which also accuses another
FIFA executive of planning the corrupt sale of 2010 World Cup
tickets, offered what it said was new evidence over the ruling
body's appointment of International Sports and Leisure (ISL) as
its marketing arm. ISL went bankrupt in 2001.
The programme said members Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil, hosts
of the next World Cup, Confederation of African Football (CAF)
chief Issa Hayatou and South American (CONMEBOL) head Nicolas
Leoz took bribes from ISL to win the lucrative contract.
The trio are current members of the FIFA executive committee
(ex-co) which will decide on Thursday which countries host the
World Cups of 2018 and 2022.
All have denied any wrongdoing but neither they nor FIFA
were available on Monday for comment on the latest allegations
based on what the BBC said was a confidential ISL document which
detailed 175 secret payments between 1989 and 1999.
Similar allegations were first made against them in a book
by the presenter of Monday's programme, British investigative
reporter Andrew Jennings.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said in a statement issued by
the BBC on Monday that no FIFA officials had been accused of any
criminal offence during a 2008 inquiry and court hearing into
the ISL collapse by Swiss authorities.
Blatter has recently criticised British media entrapment in
claiming corruption within his organisation, although two
members were suspended earlier this month following allegations
of wrongdoing made by the Sunday Times.
A fourth member of FIFA's ex-co, Jack Warner of Trinidad who
is a vice-president, had attempted to break FIFA rules over the
sale of 2010 World Cup tickets "but the deal subsequently fell
through", according to the Panorama programme.
Andy Anson, the head of the English bid to stage the 2018
World Cup, said earlier on Monday in Zurich that he feared the
new Panorama allegations would damage their chances.
"Of course I'm disappointed with the timing and it's
certainly not going to win any votes," Anson told reporters.
"We just have to see what happens tonight and move on. I
won't be watching it, I've got other things to do."
England is bidding to stage the finals, for the second time,
in 2018 against Russia, Spain and Portugal (one bid) and the
Netherlands and Belgium (one bid).
FIFA will announce the winners, plus the hosts of the 2022
tournament, on Thursday at its headquarters in Zurich.
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