Former British Prime Minister, David Cameron and the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, have been embroiled in a row over corruption in football.
On Tuesday night, June 28, FIFA released a probe into alleged collusion and dodgy interactions with now-discredited officials, detailing the extraordinary lengths England’s football chiefs went to while courting FIFA delegates in a bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
The report revealed the meetings with members of the Royal Family, offers of token knighthoods, jobs for officials’ children and vote swaps are among the many damning allegations The Telegraph newspaper reports that the then-PM Mr Cameron and the Duke of Cambridge were at a meeting where a controversial vote-swap deal was discussed.
The report which was 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.
The Fifa report disclosed how Cameron pleaded with 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.
The Telegraph newspaper reports that South Korea was bidding to stage the 2022 World Cup which was also being decided at the same time.
“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,” states the report based on evidence provided by the English delegation.
Just like Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II was 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.
The report claimed 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”.
Andy Anson, chief executive of England 2018, the company behind the English FA bid, told investigators he recalled officials “said to me that it would be nice if at some point Dr Leoz would get to meet the Queen,” the Telegraph newspaper reports.
England 2018 officials, recognising the difficulty of arranging an honorary knighthood, instead discussed “creating a FA Disability Cup” that “could be named after him”.
Subsequently officials questioned whether naming a trophy in his honour was “big enough” inducement to gain Dr Leoz’s support.
The report revealed that England 2018 “provided full and valuable co-operation in establishing the facts and circumstances of this case” with witnesses made available for interview and documents produced on request.
The Garcia report also identified “conduct by England 2018 that may not have met the standards set out in the FCE (FIFA code of ethics) or the bid rules”.
The report adds: “In many cases England 2018 accommodated or at least attempted to satisfy, the improper requests made by these Executive Committee members.
“While the bidding process itself, and the attitude of entitlement and expectation demonstrated by certain Executive Committee members in the exchanges discussed in detail above, place the bid team in a difficult position that fact does not excuse all of the conduct.”