LORD TRIESMAN, one of the most powerful men in the British game, last night resigned as chairman of the Football Association and England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup in embarrassing circumstances.
Triesman stepped down after a Sunday newspaper published a private conversation between him and a former aide in which he allegedly suggests Spain had asked Russia to help them bribe referees at this summer’s World Cup.
The former Labour party general secretary is said to have added that in return for helping them pay off officials, Spain would try to ensure Russia beat England in the vote over who stages the tournament in 2018.
His sudden departure is the heaviest in a series of blows to England’s credibility as potential hosts. Former FA chairman Geoff Thompson was last night appointed Triesman’s successor as chairman of the 2018 bid.
Confirming his resignation, Triesman said he had merely been discussing “speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world”.
He added: “Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously as indeed is the case with many private conversations.
“Nobody should be under any misapprehension that the FA or 2018 bid board are disrespectful of other nations or Fifa. 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.”
Triesman’s departure came just two days after David Beckham delivered a 1,752-page bid book to Fifa amid much fanfare.
TIMELINE | A TROUBLED BID
Oct 09 Fifa vice-president Jack Warner slams England’s bid for “creeping along”
Oct 09 Move to give luxury handbags to 24 Fifa chiefs blows up into embarrassing row
Nov 09 Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards quits after major board reshuffle
Nov 09 Karren Brady, one of six to move from board to an advisory panel, admits bid is being undermined by “bickering and in-fighting”