Sepp Blatter promised that FIFA would publish the FA report by James Dingemans QC into the Triesman allegations (PDF), and that is exactly what they have done. Score 1 for transparency.
Because what the report does very quickly is utterly discredit what FIFA have said – that the FA report clears the four members of the Executive Committee. It does no such thing, and that becomes clear from reading the Terms of Reference alone. I’ve read the report, and you can too, but to save you the bother, here are some select quotes that contradict what FIFA has said:
It should be noted that it was no part of my terms of review to determine whether the allegations made by Lord Triesman were well founded or not
There we have it, by page 2, FIFA’s claims that the four ex-co members were completely cleared by the review are blown out of the water like a wooden raft hit by a torpedo. How can the FA report clear Warner, Leoz, Texeira and Makudi if it is not even supposed to form an opinion on the allegations against them? That’s like saying that a murderer is innocent on the basis that the jury were not allowed to deliver a verdict.
These terms of reference were, says the “independent” report, set out by the FA and FIFA after “an exchange of correspondance” between the two. So FIFA were able, at least to an extent, to dictate the terms of the enquiry into itself. Further, the terms of reference state that:
The FA does not have jurisdiction to require evidence from the four Executive Committee members who were the subject of Lord Triesman’s evidence to the Select Committee.
No, Your Honour, the prosecution may not cross examine the accused.
Allegations against Jack Warner
Lord Triesman alleges that, during a meeting with Sir Dave Richards and Mr Warner at the Wyndham Grand hotel in London on 7 October 2009, Mr Warner asked for money to build a school and offices in Trinidad. This was to be Mr Warner’s ‘legacy to the Trinidad & Tobago Football Authority’. Lord Triesman says that Sir Dave Richards suggested that this would amount to some £2.5m, to which Mr Warner nodded and said that the funds could be channelled through him.
The report continues:
Sir David Richards said that Jack Warner had stated that: England had led the world in education; he felt that the FA should commence a worldwide education programme, building education blocks around the world and the project should start in Trinidad & Tobago. Sir David Richards had used colourful language in response. The meeting had ended, although Lord Triesman and Jack Warner had had a short conversation at the end of the meeting which he had not overheard. Sir David Richards had not heard Jack Warner either ask for money in his presence or asked for funds to be channelled through him.
You can make of this what you will, but let’s bear in mind that Lord Triesman is no longer involved at the FA and Sir Dave therefore has no need of loyalty towards him. FIFA claim this disproves Triesman’s allegation. It doesn’t
Allegations against Dr Nicholas Leoz
Lord Triesman alleges that, at a meeting on 3 October 2009, Mr Leoz asked for a knighthood. This was said to be as a result of his desire for recognition for his services to world football. It was put to Lord Triesman that, as a former Foreign Office minister, he must know how such things were organised. Upon being told that it was impossible, Mr Leoz “shrugged his shoulders and walked away”
FIFA’s defence for this is that the report shows that Leoz did not ask for a knighthood. But it does concede that members of his entourage had suggested he would accept one. I suggest that this is splitting hairs to an extent. The other members of the 2018 bid team, including David Dein, state the Leoz did not ask them for a knighthood. But, if he knew that Triesman had worked inside government, why would he need to?
Then there’s this quote:
In an email dated 14 April 2010, also recovered from the email records, Lucia Sanchez emailed Les Dickens [a part-time bid consultant based in South America] about a forthcoming visit. She said: “Hi, Alberto Almiral (Leoz’s assistant)… asked me again about Leoz’s honorary title announcement as this can ‘weight heavily’ on Leoz’s decision.” Lucia Sanchez did not agree to give evidence to me.
That seems to me pretty conclusive evidence that “something” was going on. Even if Leoz didn’t know what his staff members were up to, there are questions to be asked about why he didn’t. FIFA have asked no questions.
Allegations against Ricardo Texeira
Lord Triesman alleges that, on 14 November 2009 at a meeting in Qatar, he expressed to Mr Texeira that he was grateful for the support by President Lula for England’s 2018 bid. Lord Triesman alleges that Mr Texeira then said ‘Lula is nothing, you come and tell me what you have for me’. Lord Triesman acknowledged that Mr Texeira’s grasp of English was not complete, but nonetheless he found this ‘a surprising way of putting it and, in it’s way, a shocking way of putting it’, because of how it was likely to be interpreted.
This one is a bit more flaky, as it’s a case of one man’s word against anothers. However, there it one interesting note to this in the FA report:
There were some suggestions that the encounter between Lord Triesman and Mr Texeira might have been televised, and if so, there might be sounds which could be enhanced. It has not, in the time available, proved possible to make any progress with this line of inquiry.
Allegations against Worawi Makudi
Lord Triesman stated that, during the course of a number of conversations (mainly over the telephone) with Mr Makudi, Mr Makudi expressed a desire to see a match between England and Thailand, in order to commemorate an anniversary (50th or 60th) of the King of Thailand’s accession to the throne. Lord Triesman alleged that, in the event that such a match could be arranged, Mr Makudi insisted that ‘one way or another’ the TV rights for such a fixture would go to Mr Makudi personally. Lord Triesman believed that Mr Makudi views this as ‘critical thing to make the arrangement a success’.
Other members of England’s 2018 bid team confirm that Makudi had been pressing for a friendly to be arranged, but not that he had ever asked them to arrange payment of TV rights. So we’re back to one man’s word against another’s. But then there’s this:
By letter dated 24 November 2010 Adrian Bevington, Club England Managing Director, was writing to Mr Makudi as President of the Football Association of Thailand about team arrangements and requirements, and, among other matters, TV rights. It is apparent that there were proposals being discussed whereby the Football Association of Thailand retained not only domestic TV rights, but also the rest of the world TV rights except for the UK, depending on what could be agreed about payment for the cost of the trip.
This is unusual in as far as the FA normally stipulate that they will retain rest of the world TV rights for their overseas friendlies subject to negotiations. Given the marketing appeal of the England team compared to, say, Thailand’s, you would expect that the FA would normally prevail unless the match was being played against another major nation.
FA report: conclusions
An important point is that Dingemans was given only 15 days to produce this report, hardly a sufficient period for a wide-ranging investigation. He was only able to access the records and individuals that fell under FA juridiction. In other words, the FA themselves. He couldn’t demand co-operation from anyone and could therefore only provide a limited overview of the evidence.
He does, however, reach some conclusions which ought to be of interest:
The very large number of rumours which have circulated does give rise to a fundamental point. This is that there is a need for greater transparency in the bidding process so that decisions, if fairly made and adjudicated, can enjoy the respect they deserve
Then he makes some disturbing points about FIFA’s Ethics Code:
It might be noted that although the FIFA Ethics Code states that FIFA has a special responsibility to safeguard the integrity and reputation of football, the relevant provisions of clauses 10 and 11 refer only officials not accepting bribes. The code does not refer to the situation where “gifts or other advantages” are sought for family members, Member Associations or corporations. The Code does not expressly prevent persons, subject to the jurisdiction of FIFA, either offering or providing bribes, it is just receipt which is the subject of express provision.
This statement is incredible. FIFA members are free to offer, and agree to accept, bribes as long as they do not receive them. On that basis, it’s easy to say that Warner, Leoz, Texeira and Makudi have done no wrong because there is nothing to suggest that the bribes were ever received. That’s not so much a loophole as it is a gaping chasm through which Ex-Co members can drive trucks full of “gifts and advantages”.
Dingemans goes on to criticise the Bid Registration Rules, which he states are directed specifically to the bidding associations and not explicitly towards members of the Executive Committee. He states that there is a “need for an updated and detailed Code of Ethics”.
This is the basis of the FA report that FIFA say exonerates the four Executive Committe members. It does, only in so far as we find that what Triesman accuses them of is not actually forbidden by FIFA. At the very least, it demands further investigation. There will not be one. Although the report doesn’t prove Triesman’s allegations, neither does it disprove them. FIFA would have us believe that it does. They are lying.
As Sir Humphrey Appleby would have said:
Unfortunately, although the answer was indeed clear, simple and straightforward, there is some difficulty in justifiably assigning to it the fourth of the epithets you applied to the statement inasmuch as the precise correlation between the information you communicated and the facts insofar as they can be determined and demonstrated is such as to cause epistemological problems of sufficient magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably be expected to bear.