Session 2010-12
Publications on the internet

To be published as HC 1031

House of commons



Culture, Media and Sport Committee

The 2018 World Cup Bid

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Mike Lee

Lord Triesman

Evidence heard in Public Questions 1 - 100



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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee

on Tuesday 10 May 2011

Members present:

Mr John Whittingdale (Chair)

Ms Louise Bagshawe

Dr Thérèse Coffey

Damian Collins

Philip Davies

Paul Farrelly

Alan Keen

Mr Adrian Sanders

Mr Tom Watson


Examination of Witness

Witness: Mike Lee, Strategist behind the 2022 Qatar World Cup bid, gave evidence.

Q1 Chair : Good morning. This is a special session of the Committee’s inquiry into football governance in which we intend to look specifically at the bid by England for the 2018 World Cup and can I welcome, as our first witness this morning, Mike Lee who was a strategist behind the successful Qatar World Cup bid.

Ms Bagshawe: Mr Lee, you have an amazing record in taking outsider bids in international competitions and leading them to victory. As well as Qatar 2022, you have Rio 2016 and London 2012 to your credit. What would you sum up as the key criteria for making a successful bid for one of these types of competitions?

Mike Lee: The truth is that all bids are a bit like political campaigns; they are all different. So there are different reasons why people win and lose. But if you were trying to summarise, looking the most recent history of bids in terms the World Cup and also the Olympic/Paralympic Games, I think there are some definite key things that you have to have in place. The first is you have to have a very strong and appropriate leadership for the bid. You definitely have to have very active high levels of political and Government support. You need a good technical base. You can’t get away with that. You need a powerful and unique campaign message.

One of the things I think the team achieved at London 2012 was the way in which our brand of London was going to enhance the brand of Olympic sport and the Olympic Games. So you need to show the way in which what you offer can benefit the rights holder and their crown jewels, whatever that event is. You need a good big organisation and the right sort of board. You need a strong united team. You need to understand the voters, because ultimately, whatever else you’re doing, there are a certain number of people who are casting votes-they will make the ultimate decision-and think globally about those voters and how they think about themselves and the world. You need great communications and marketing, and ultimately, a sense of purpose. In the light of today’s inquiry, if you look at that list, most of those things were missing from the England 2018 bid.

Q2 Ms Bagshawe: Which brings me neatly on to my second question: England 2018 didn’t have you. It was perceived as a terrible failure, whereas London 2012 was perceived as a spectacular success and a surprising success. Could you expand a little bit more on what London 2012 had in its bid that England 2018 did not?

Mike Lee: Indeed there has been discussion on this within this Committee and I notice that the Treasury and the DCMS produced their own report looking at the lessons of London 2012 and also the lessons of the failed World Cup bid for 2006. One of the things they said, which I think is absolutely right, is that ideally you need a bid committee that has a unique focus on winning the bid and thinks as a bid committee and campaigns with that as its sole purpose. In London 2012 we had an independent company with a board that was set up to add value. We had a very good relationship with the British Olympic Association, but not one that they sought to control. So we had a very productive relationship with Sir Craig Reedie and Simon Clegg in that they played their key part but they didn’t try and dominate or control from a national governing body point of view.

Incidentally, I think, if I may say, that a lot of that structure and then the appointment of the executive team was with the first bid leader, Barbara Cassani, but we then went on to have a very inspirational leader in Seb Coe. The way Seb worked with the team, inspired the team, and what he represented in the Olympic world, was crucial; so that executive team was working in a proper way with the board and with an inspirational leader. We also spent a lot of time thinking about what we were doing: what the message was going to be; what the narrative was; how we would campaign; how we would talk to and attract the IOC and the voters; how we would also work with national Olympic committees and international federations. A huge amount of brain power and time and reflection and teamwork went into that, and that is perhaps the difference. Ultimately we also spent some time understanding where the votes were at, and indeed there was a lot of work, in particular by Seb and Keith Mills and Craig Reedie, predicting where the vote was going to go, and we got it pretty accurate.

Q3 Damian Collins: I would just like to ask a few questions about the Qatar bid itself. Given your role and the role of your company overseeing communications and PR, were you involved in all aspects of preparing the bid and presenting the bid and dealing with media inquiries, or was it just individual aspects or in certain regions of the world?

Mike Lee: No, the work we do is around overall campaign strategy: thinking through how the campaign needs to evolve and develop; what the key messages are; how you address negatives; how you create positives in terms of the campaign; working very hard in terms of the marketing and the media management side of the bid. We’re not engaged in every different dimension but we are involved usually at chairman/CEO level in terms of planning, thinking and evolving the campaign, because one of the things that matters in these campaigns is how you build momentum and knowing when the final vote is. In London’s case it was that day in Singapore and for the World Cup it was 2 December in Zurich. You need to think about how you build momentum over a campaign, like any political campaign that you will be familiar with.

Q4 Damian Collins: I’d like to ask some questions about the bidding process and lessons that can be learned from that and that people can learn as well, as there have been a lot of allegations made about the bidding process. But before I do, I just wanted to ask one specific question about Qatar. One of the issues that has raised a lot of concern was over what FIFA referred to as the health risks of players playing at high temperatures in the stadiums and that the technology the Qataris proposed to cool the stadiums is, as yet, untested or developed for World Cup-sized stadiums. How did you convince the world on that point?

Mike Lee: We spent a lot of time on that issue in the course of the campaign. As I say, good campaigns understand what the potential issues are and what the potential negatives are and address them. In Qatar’s case there is an air-cooled stadium already operating very well in Doha. No roof on it. In fact a number of journalists have visited the stadium. What is new is the solar-powered, environmentally-sustainable technology that has been developed as a prototype. There is a small stadium built to showcase and develop that. At the end of the campaign certainly we felt, with the inspection team and with the wider football family, that we showed that air-cooling could work in stadiums, in our training camps and in fan zones. Now, obviously there is a debate that has occurred since with suggestions from certain quarters within FIFA that maybe the date should be switched to the winter. That has never been proposed by Qatar.

Q5 Damian Collins: I mean, given the severe implications for the football calendar of switching the World Cup to the winter, and the concerns we’ve had through our inquiry that this is something that could be done in an arbitrary manner by FIFA and decided by them and the rest of the world would just have to cope with that, if that came up subsequent to the Qatar bid, do you not think there should be very serious lessons learned by FIFA about the bidding process and assurances that it receives from countries about technology and staging of events which is yet unproven?

Mike Lee: Well, FIFA have not made any decisions. It has been raised and then the debate seems to have currently stopped. Certainly there has been no proposal from Qatar. Qatar’s commitment was based on the bid book, on the submission, and that is to host the World Cup during the dates that we proposed, and a belief and a commitment that that will work-and of course you have over 10 years to prepare. Certainly the technology does work, I’ve seen it work personally, and Qatar are confident they can deliver a summer World Cup. So if the debate restarts, it’s not going to be down to Qatar.

Q6 Damian Collins: There was a report in the Daily Telegraph looking at the Qatari bid that highlighted areas of expenditure by the Qatari campaign, in particular acceptable financial systems, the Argentinian FA, and also a large amount of spending on ambassadors from different countries around the world to support their bid. $7 million was spent on hiring Gabriel Batistuta, for example, the Argentinian footballer. It was even reported that Archbishop Tutu had been approached with an offer of £63,000 for a donation to charities of his choice. Do you think this level of engagement, in terms of hiring of ambassadors, is appropriate and adds to the openness and validity of World Cup bids?

Mike Lee: There are two or three things there. The first is that that was a report. It’s never been proven or substantiated, but I am aware of the report. I think it is true-and here you do start looking at these mega-event bids-if you’re coming from a position where you’re not on anybody’s radar screen necessarily, where you don’t have some of the same traditions that certain bidders have, where you need to establish yourself in a campaign, then I think it is important to make sure that you do build alliances and you do have appropriate ambassadors. Batistuta, for example, had played in Qatar and had a very good time there. Ronald de Boer lives in Doha. He was a part of our team. So you’re both establishing yourself on the world stage and bringing people into the mix who often are working very, very hard. To be honest, as I look across the various big companies I’ve been involved in, in some cases, and with most cases in London 2012, ambassadors were able to give their time free. In other instances you do need to pay a fee or expenses. So that is in the mix: it is a part of the process. Having voices that can talk from a footballing perspective about what it is that you’re trying to achieve and what it would mean also to the Middle East as a region is a very valid part of the process.

Q7 Damian Collins: But it seems to go further than that. In the same Daily Telegraph report it said that there were bid documents proposing to build a football academy in Thailand, which is the home nation of one of the Executive Committee members; also a proposal to move the headquarters of the Asian Football Federation from Doha to Malaysia. Do you think this is going too far, beyond just supporting and marketing a bid document, and actively courting executive members-

Mike Lee: I’m not aware of the specific ones that you mentioned, but I’m also aware that-

Damian Collins: It’s in the article that you said you were aware of.

Mike Lee: I think England, for example, agreed to play a friendly in Thailand, which they subsequently cancelled. I think in bid processes where you’re also looking to aid and develop football in other parts of the world, the question of development programmes, relocating stadiums, playing international friendlies, is in the mix in some form. The important thing is that, if it is in there, it is done in a way that is not against the rules and is not unethical.

Q8 Damian Collins: But we’re a long way from marketing the bid based on its technical merits here, aren’t we? We’re courting people with favours to support a bid.

Mike Lee: Lord Triesman is appearing next. I think that England 2018, like many other bids, was trying to think creatively about where the England team would play and where the development programme money would go and where bid ambassadors went to visit to do training camps. Whether we like it or not, the international sport political process has also a very important element about how it benefits the organisation, the rights holders as a whole, how it will make a difference in the development of the global game and how it will help certain markets. That is the reality of it and you might say that England tried on some of those fronts but weren’t successful in ultimately converting it into votes.

Q9 Damian Collins: There have been a number of allegations about approaches made to members of the Executive Committee of FIFA with regard to the World Cup bid, notably by the The Sunday Times in the lead-up to the decision being made. The Sunday Times have made a subsequent submission to this Committee with further evidence that they have gathered, which is their own, regarding the Qatari bid, with information that hasn’t been published before. We have discussed that this morning and the Committee have decided to publish that document, which is a document that will be available. In particular, they claim that their whistle-blower who informed their articles said that Qatar paid $1.5 million to two FIFA Exco members, Hayatou and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast, and that they, it is alleged, subsequently went on to vote for and support the Qatari bid. Were you aware of allegations of bribery regarding the Qatari bid?

Mike Lee: No, none of that is familiar to me or known to me. It’s not a place in which I work. I have no reason to believe that it happened. I saw no evidence of that. I know The Sunday Times have published other stories that then led to two members being suspended by FIFA, but I’m not aware of the specifics on Qatar.

Q10 Damian Collins: In your experience, working in football at the highest levels as a communicator, do you think FIFA have to take these sorts of allegations more seriously? Apparently this information was supplied privately to FIFA and another Member of Parliament has written to FIFA asking about it. There were also concerns about the depth and seriousness of FIFA’s investigation into the allegations that were published last year. Do you think there needs to be-

Mike Lee: All I would say is, quite genuinely and obviously, in front of a parliamentary Committee, with full and due honesty and respect, in all the time that I have worked-first of all in Premier League, then in UEFA-on these various bid campaigns, starting London 2012, I personally have never witnessed any improper behaviour or any improper offers being made. I can be absolutely categorical about that. I would also say this about the Sunday Times allegations. The allegations that were published and subsequently investigated by FIFA did lead to two members being suspended and they weren’t eligible to vote in Zurich in December. So I think FIFA, on the evidence they had available, took certain steps and, I think it’s recognised, took appropriate action.

Q11 Damian Collins: The concern continues, I think, that this is something that needs to be investigated properly. I’m sure we may hear views from Lord Triesman about the bidding process, too. You, yourself, are aware of many of these stories and allegations that have been made. I’m not seeking to say whether these are true or not. I’m not in a position to know. Our concern as a Committee has been over the governance and the governance structures of the game and I would feel very strongly that FIFA have to investigate this in greater depth than they have done before and allow greater transparency, because these allegations seems to be rife, not just about the 2018 bidding process but 2022 as well.

Mike Lee: One of the things that is worth reflecting on, having been privileged to work on both Olympic bids campaigns and World Cup campaigns, I think the IOC, in the light of Salt Lake City, took a number of very important steps and reforms, which I think has made the IOC process recognised across the world as more open and more transparent than it used to be; that a bid is required to present their case to all the continental confederations of Olympic committees. You present to the international federations. You present to the national Olympic committees. Next week the first of two presentations to all of the IOC members takes place in Lausanne on 2018 Winter Games bids that are currently going on. There is a rule within the IOC of no gifts of any description. There is also a very strong Ethics Committee led by, within the IOC team, a French lawyer who is, believe me, very diligent. I notice that President Blatter has already talked about whether or not World Cup bidding, for example, should be a final decision of all the national associations. I think, beginning to look at what the IOC have done and the way that that process works might be interesting for this debate and ultimately for FIFA. But all I would say is that I saw nothing in the course of 2018 or 2022 that I regard as improper behaviour.

Q12 Damian Collins: Finally, we’re in the middle of the FIFA presidential elections. Do you think Sepp Blatter should be re-elected? Do you see him as a reforming president?

Mike Lee: That’s not really for me to comment on. I would say that President Blatter and Mohamed Bin Hammam have both put forward proposals and ideas that would clearly take a reforming element into the mix, and I think that the idea of a future congress of national associations making the final decisions on World Cup bidding seems to be one that could well take root after the election.

Q13 Chair: You’ve said that you have not seen anything improper, and of course we accept that. Can I ask you, were you aware of somebody involved in the Qatar bid team called Amadou Diallo?

Mike Lee: No.

Q14 Chair: So the suggestion that he was specifically employed by Qatar to arrange financial deals with African members in exchange for their World Cup votes is something that you were completely unaware of?

Mike Lee: I have no idea who this individual is, no.

Q15 Chair: Right. You never saw anything that gave you any cause to think that Qatar, or indeed other countries, might be adopting improper means to influence World Cup votes?

Mike Lee: Nothing. Whether it goes all the way back to London 2012 or through to Qatar 2022, I spent time with the chairman and with the CEO. You become a part of the inner team, if you want, and certainly no such moves or tactics were ever suggested or proposed. Absolutely not, no.

Q16 Chair: Another of the allegations put is that another man called Amadou Diakite, a former member of the FIFA Exco who went on to the Referees Committee, was quoted as saying that Exco members had been offered between $1 million and $1.2 million each for projects by Qatar in return for their votes. As far as you’re aware-

Mike Lee: I thought we were here discussing 2018, but I can reassure you-

Chair: This was for 2018.

Mike Lee: Well, Qatar 2022-

Chair: The 2018 bidding process.

Mike Lee: Yes. All I can say is, as I’ve said to your colleague, I’ve never witnessed, never personally been involved, have absolutely no reason to believe that those allegations are correct. Certainly if I’d had any sense that any bid I’ve been involved in would engage in those tactics then obviously I personally would not be involved. But I saw no evidence of that, absolutely not.

Q17 Chair: So your general impression, having been involved in bids over some considerable period, is that essentially it is a clean process and the decisions are taken on perfectly legitimate grounds and not due to bribes or any form of corruption?

Mike Lee: That has been my experience. What I would say, as I tried to say in the opening question, is that you win for a lot of different reasons. You don’t just win because you’ve got a good technical bid book. You don’t just win because you’ve been posted as favourites. You don’t just win because you’ve got a very strong case. You win for a whole host of the reasons that I’ve tried to outline, which includes, incidentally-we haven’t talked much about the word and I think it did matter a lot in terms of both the Russia and Qatar decisions-you also win with a strong case for legacy and what you will do to develop, in this case, the World Cup as an event, and football as a sport, growing it in new markets. This legacy argument became a very important one, I think, in these two races.

Q18 Ms Bagshawe: Mr Lee, forgive me if we appear to be harping on about these allegations, but they are extremely serious and the papers that we have in front of us from The Sunday Times make references not just to a single whistle-blower or a single person they allege was involved in essentially buying votes in order to secure the 2022 bid, but large numbers of people. I will list some of them.

The first allegation is that a man called Ismail Bhamjee, who was one of four FIFA Exco members, met with their undercover reporters and offered to act as a fixer. He offered to find out the amounts of money that the Qatari bid was paying members of FIFA in order to secure their votes, and there is a transcript in front of us. The undercover reporter asks if the Africans, meaning the African people on FIFA who would be authorising the bid, would get some money from Qatar. The quote here is "anything from $250,000 to $500,000". The reporter asks, "Is that to invest in football or is that for them?" He says, "No, no, this is on top. This is separate from the football." The reporter asks, "Is that for money, personal money?" Mr Bhamjee says, "Yes, they get it." So that is one person: Mr Bhamjee.

They then allege that they met Michel Zen-Ruffinen who was, again, a former FIFA Exco member. He introduced them to Mr Diallo. You said you don’t know Mr Diallo. It’s alleged that he was an employee of the Qatari bid and that he was arranging financial deals with the African members in exchange for World Cup votes. The allegations go on to refer to yet another person, Mr Amadou Diakite, a member of FIFA’s Referees Committee. He suggested that $1.1 million to $1.2 million was being offered for projects by Qatar in exchange for the votes of FIFA members.

Finally, it is suggested that there is a whistle-blower whom The Sunday Times do not name in their submission to us, presumably because they wish to protect his identity, and this guy said that Qatar had paid not $1.2 million but $1.5 million to two FIFA Exco members, Hayatou and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast, to secure their votes. An article was published redacting the name of the whistle-blower that saw them, redacted in the submission of evidence to us, and not naming Mr Hayatou and Mr Anouma. But they are both reported to have voted for Qatar. Now, taken as a whole, while this Committee is not in a position to judge whether this evidence is true or not, we felt it was an important enough submission that we ought to publish it.

The Sunday Times published an article redacting some of those names and Ivan Lewis, who is in fact the Shadow Culture Secretary and therefore a very senior Member of Parliament, wrote to FIFA and requested an explanation and an independent investigation and FIFA did not even bother to reply. Now, I fully take you at your word that you knew absolutely nothing about any of these allegations of bribery, but it seems they are not a single whistle-blower, not a single person that The Sunday Times uncovered, but rather a series of people who are said to have provided evidence that the votes were being bought for Qatar.

Is it possible in your experience for somebody like you to be deeply involved in a bid and not know that bribery was ongoing, if in fact it was ongoing? Secondly, I know you’ve drawn unfavourable comparisons with governance of the IOC. Do you not think it quite shocking that the Shadow Culture Secretary should write to FIFA and ask for an independent investigation and should not even receive a reply?

Mike Lee: You’re asking me to comment on things I know nothing about. I’m not sitting here looking at the transcripts. I’m not aware of these individuals. You’re raising allegations that I’m unfamiliar with. I mean, I can only repeat, I think your inquiry is into England 2018 and I’m very happy to take questions on the 2018 and 2022 process, but you’re raising things that I had no notice of; I’m not aware of; I have no reason to believe that they’re true. I’m not sure what more I can say.

Q19 Ms Bagshawe: Would it be possible, do you think, for somebody like yourself, a legitimate person, to be involved in a bid and be deeply sunk into it and not know that bribery was ongoing? Do you think that’s possible, or does it strike you as impossible?

Mike Lee: I just told you, I was heavily involved and very proud of the bids I’ve been involved in: London 2012, Rio 2016, rugby into the Olympic Games, Qatar 2022. I’m proud of the work that I have done and that those bids have done. I have never seen behaviour that I would regard as improper or unethical and that includes Qatar and I can just repeat that. I was heavily involved and I’m not aware of either these individuals or the allegations or the specifics that you’re naming and I am being completely on oath about that.

Q20 Ms Bagshawe: Yes, absolutely. Obviously it does directly bear on England 2018 because if there are serious suggestions that the process of securing a World Cup is corrupt and that votes are available for sale that clearly has a bearing on England’s failure to secure the World Cup bid. That is clearly relevant. Do you think that it was appropriate that the Shadow Culture Secretary of this country should write to FIFA and ask them to independently investigate these very serious allegations and that they should not bother to respond to them?

Mike Lee: I can’t answer on behalf of FIFA. That is not really correct, is it? I mean, you have to direct that question at FIFA, not at me.

Q21 Ms Bagshawe: Sure, but you’ve been involved in a number of international events. You’ve worked with all kinds of different bodies. What we’re trying to establish is if FIFA is basically institutionally corrupt in the way that it awards these bids as distinct from the International Olympic Committee or other people with whom you have worked. Do you see a massive difference in governance between the two?

Mike Lee: I don’t personally have evidence. In the work I’ve done, I’ve been involved in one World Cup bid and that was 2022. I have not seen the sort of things that you are describing and I do not personally believe that there is direct evidence, in my experience, of FIFA being institutionally corrupt, as you put it.

Ms Bagshawe: Okay, thank you.

Q22 Philip Davies: Just to press you on this, because I noticed-I’m sure it was unintentional-that you dodged Louise’s question that I was interested in the answer to, which was: could these things have happened without you knowing? You were involved in the bid and you’ve said you didn’t see anything go on. We totally accept that. But the question that Louise put, which I was interested in the answer to, was: could these things possibly have happened without you knowing, given your involvement with the bid? If it had happened, would you have known about it?

Mike Lee: All I can say is that I was working at the highest level on that bid and I was talking at extensive lengths at different times to the chairman and to the CEO and many other leading figures, and I have no evidence of that. These allegations, it is clear that the Committee wants to look at those. The Sunday Times are pursuing it. That ultimately is a matter for FIFA to deal with properly. I’m not sure I’m in a position to enlighten you any further on that.

Q23 Philip Davies: Okay, I will just try one more time. Perhaps a yes or a no would suffice. Could these things possibly have happened, given your involvement in the bid, without you knowing about them?

Mike Lee: I think that my experience with Qatar is that I would have had a sense if such things were going on. I had no sense that such things were going on.

Q24 Philip Davies: Coming back to some of the answers you gave to Damian and Louise, when you were asked about whether you saw anything improper go on and you said that you didn’t, I’m just slightly intrigued as to what you would consider to be proper and what you would consider to be improper. Where is the line as far as you’re concerned? Where is the line in the sand that takes you from what is proper to do and what is improper to do?

Mike Lee: You go by the rules, regulations and guidelines that are laid down by the relevant body. So in an Olympic bid it’s the IOC, and in FIFA it’s the FIFA rules and regulations, and indeed they were published on the back of an incident here in England with Mulberry handbags. Those are, if you want, the rules within which you work. So it’s clear: it’s as laid down by the organisation that ultimately is awarding the right to host the World Cup or the Olympic Games. I think what is true, and it has been discussed around a number of bids, is that-and, for example, in Qatar we did say that building stadiums of a certain size for a World Cup, you do not need that number of stadiums of that size in the context of Qatari football post-2022; so a number of those stadiums could be demounted and small stadiums created in Africa and Asia. I think that is perfectly valid to say that. I think if you can offer ideas and creative concepts and legacies that operate in other parts of the world, that is valid.

Q25 Philip Davies: I’m naïve in these matters. Are we saying that luxury handbags are fine and £1 million bribes are inappropriate? Would you say that luxury handbags are fine-

Mike Lee: Well, the FIFA rules on gifts are clear, which is that there should be no monetary gifts given and that occasional gifts of a symbolic nature, I think the word is "incidental", of incidental value are acceptable-that’s the rules.

Q26 Philip Davies: But what is incidental value?

Mike Lee: They never defined it.

Q27 Philip Davies: If you’re advising a bid and I’m allowed to give incidental value, what does that mean? What would you say to me?

Mike Lee: I must admit, in the work that I’ve done, because of coming out of the IOC and the Olympic world, I tend to personally favour no gifts of any description.

Q28 Philip Davies: Is that your understanding of what happened with Qatar?

Mike Lee: Well, I never saw gifts being given that were anything other than within the rules.

Q29 Philip Davies: We’re having a circular argument here, because if we don’t know what the rules are relating to incidental-

Mike Lee: Again, you’re going to have to ask FIFA. I think most people regard "incidental value" as a very low cash value. That is clear and whether or not a Mulberry handbag goes beyond it is a matter for discussion. I think it was suggested that it possibly did.

Q30 Philip Davies: Your view would be that that is certainly pushing at the boundaries of what is-

Mike Lee: I think it is a matter for FIFA to judge. I mean, as I say, in the IOC it is categorically clear and unequivocal. It just says "no gifts". For example, one of the bids in 2016 sent round a digital photo frame to members with a story of their city on the digital photo frame and you could then download it and use it for personal use. That was finally viewed as a gift. I think that was probably a good judgement call. So if you’re saying to me, "Do I think the rules could be improved? Do I think there are some lessons to be learned from the IOC? Do I think that the evidence is in favour of suggesting that the bid is clean?" I do, but you can all get better at transparency and decision-making and I do think the IOC have done very well post-Salt Lake City in the way that they’ve acted.

Q31 Philip Davies: Just taking you away from Qatar, have you heard of any other bid anywhere, that you haven’t been involved in, where you felt that the bids have gone beyond what is reasonable? Have you ever seen anything on bids that you haven’t been involved in or heard about things on bids that you haven’t-

Mike Lee: The thing is, in the world of bidding in international sports politics, there are always rumours abounding one way or another. There have been plenty of stories written about IOC in the past and FIFA. So you’re aware of allegations and charges. You’re asking me for hard evidence and personal anecdote and I have not seen that; including in other bids, by the way.

Q32 Chair: You say that it is important to have transparency as much as possible and I don’t think anybody would dispute that. Also, if you say you have no evidence or knowledge, then that obviously we accept as a Committee. But you will be aware that there have been a series of allegations of this kind. The latest ones we have only just received, which is why I’m afraid we sprang it slightly on you. But these are just the latest in what has been a series over quite a long period of reports and claims that it is not a proper process and that there is a lot of improper activity involved. Do you think, in order to achieve transparency that, for instance, the IOC seem to have achieved, or at least a considerably greater degree than FIFA, FIFA do need to have a proper look at the whole process with a view to reform?

Mike Lee: They have indicated, including President Blatter, that he does want to look at that if he is re-elected, and I do think there is something in this almost congress-like vote deciding and then creating a proper campaign programme throughout with international presentations. I would say more obvious openness in its presentations with the media is desirable. That didn’t occur in the 2018-2022 process. In fact there was only one presentation, apart from the FIFA Exco itself, throughout the entire process. So I think there are those sorts of improvements.

I do think there is a slight danger, both for the Committee and also here in England, to just blame everybody else. I think there are concerns. I can hear your concerns. You have clearly been presented with some further documentation this morning. But I think if we end up in this country as deciding that there was nothing fundamentally wrong with either the 2006 or 2018 bid and we don’t reflect on what lessons are to be learned for the future, we will be making a grave mistake. You as a Committee, I may say, are doing football a service by conducting some form of inquiry into why 2018 failed, because the FA have signally failed to do that and that, I think, is a shame. The 2006 bid did a very thoroughly analysis of why it failed and indeed led to a Government report, the Treasury Report that I have already referred to.

Lessons needed to be learned then and they need to be learned now. So I can understand the nature of the questioning. I can appreciate that there are some headlines maybe to follow also with the next witness. But I am telling you very seriously, as somebody who works in this world and knows it very well, if the FA and if this Committee in helping the FA doesn’t reach some conclusions about how they work in UEFA, how they work in FIFA, how they use their development programme, how they constructed that bid, which was a gross error and against the advice of the Treasury, and don’t think seriously as well about their position in world football, then this will be an opportunity lost.

Chair: We are obviously interested in all of those things as well and it rather neatly brings me on to the next section.

Q33 Mr Sanders: Did the England bid deserve more than two votes?

Mike Lee: I think the truth about political campaigns, which you know a lot more about than I do, and bid campaigns, is that you get the votes you deserve at the end of the day. If you believe that there was something wrong in the way that the bid itself was constructed, if you accept there were serious problems in terms of the dynamics of the board, if you accept that they did not run a particularly focused and unique campaign, if you accept as well that we have problems that in fact the 2006 bid highlighted in their analysis in terms of the way we’re engaging with UEFA and FIFA, and then finally I would say not to have clarity on the votes at the end and to almost kid yourself about the level of support, put those together and you end up with two votes.

Q34 Mr Sanders: So what, if anything, would you have done differently to have ensured more votes were cast in England’s favour?

Mike Lee: The first thing to say is that no one person, even a campaigning expert, can guarantee to win a bid; so I’m not going to pretend that it would have been easy to have one and I do think there were structural problems. I know David Triesman is here and he knows I believe this. I think having the chairman of the FA also as chairman of the bid proved problematic, particularly in this country, with a lot of the dynamics within English football. I don’t think I was ever clear what the overall strategy was; what the compelling message was about "Why England?"

I felt the tone of voice of the bid, and particularly toward the end, sounded very arrogant to an international audience, "We’re the best at this. We’re the best at that. We have the best fans. We have the most passionate fans." Tell that to a Brazilian or an Argentinian. There was a sort of sense, "We have the Premier League; therefore, we must be the best," but the Premier League is different to a World Cup and to a relationship with national associations, to FAs. I felt as well that they weren’t doing their homework on both what the campaign should be about and what the mood is among the voters and the broader football environment. So I would hope I could have addressed some of those if I’d been involved, but I don’t know because it wasn’t set up in that way.

Q35 Mr Sanders: Do you just think that one of the problems is that the electorate is known in a way that, in other sorts of elections, the electorate isn’t so known intimately? It could be easy to target that electorate by legitimate and illegitimate means. Would it not be a better system if that electorate were not known? In other words, the people who had the vote were randomly chosen from within the organisations at the last minute so that in advance nobody could have targeted them; so that then you would never ever get any allegation of bribery or undue influence.

Mike Lee: We knew when we started London 2012 who the IOC voters were, and we could name them and we knew how they were active in sport, what their interests were. So I don’t think having members that are known is an issue. I think that there is certainly an argument, in this case, which President Blatter himself has mentioned, of broadening the electorate. I think there is something that comes out of this that suggests that that could be a fruitful way forward. But I also think that sometimes it is easy just to say, "They’re up there. They know nothing." They are subject to all sorts of pressures and, as you said, illegitimate offers, whatever.

But a lot of work does go into an organisation running a bid auction. There are the technical reports. There is a huge amount of work that’s done in terms of football development. There is a lot of thinking that goes into where the World Cup is going to be best suited in terms of the next stage of its development. It’s no coincidence that some of these mega-decisions recently have tended to go to what you could call "developing markets" with new opportunities both football-wise and commercial-wise. So you need people who are steeped in that to be able, frankly, to get it.

Q36 Mr Sanders: But I just wonder how much of the cost of the bid is directed at known electors; that if you didn’t know who those electors were, you’d significantly reduce the costs in the bid.

Mike Lee: I’d say this. Maybe it suggests that we should think differently, but I spend a lot of my time, in looking at big campaigns, thinking not just about messages and campaign ideas that work for the electors but a lot of people around-frankly, everything from media through to football associations, people who are engaged in opinion-making within the game. So you’re not just thinking, in FIFA’s case, about the final 22, although they’re ultimately the voters and, if you want, that’s the centrepiece, but you try and build up a genuine jigsaw of influence with influencers and opinion-makers and people who are key in terms of media reporting. That is a more sophisticated process than perhaps the one you’re suggesting.

Q37 Mr Sanders: But have you any idea how much money was spent on unsuccessful bids?

Mike Lee: Let’s say going back to London 2012, you look at the unsuccessful bids of Birmingham and Manchester for the Olympics. London probably could not have come in and won if it hadn’t been for those unsuccessful bids. It is probably true that Rio who succeeded in 2016 could not have won without their two previous unsuccessful bids. Currently Pyeongchang 2018, working for the Winter Games 2018, has had two failed bids.

Let me say, in the world of these major sports events there is a huge amount of thinking goes into, or should be at least, why we’re bidding; what is the purpose of it; if we don’t win what is the legacy of bidding; what does it mean in terms of our own international profile; what does it mean in terms of our own sports development. Sophisticated bids do a lot of thinking about why they’re engaged in bidding and, if they are not going to be successful this time, do they come back with another bid on that event or another related event. It’s about the power of sport globally and about not just the economic benefits that come with it, but its ability to engage young people; to develop infrastructure; to develop your international brand.

All these things are in the mix when you’re thinking about bidding and, I tell you, there are a lot of people who have bid and lost and said it was a worthwhile investment. The key is what comes out of bidding, what legacy you leave from bidding and what lessons you learn from it.

Q38 Paul Farrelly: It is fairly easy to look critically at the FA, as we’ve done. All of them are apparently fighting like ferrets in a sack all the time, and if the message from the England bid was "football is coming home" it is very easy to see how that might be perceived as arrogance internationally. I think I was quite amused that Sepp Blatter, in his preamble before the winners were drawn, pointed out that football had been invented in China and the English had only developed the rules, which I think was a poke in the eye at-

Mike Lee: Happens to be true, by the way.

Paul Farrelly: Well, it was very pointedly said. But you said one other thing just a moment ago. You said they had to learn the lessons of how the bid was constructed and you said they didn’t take the advice of the Treasury. Can you just expand on that?

Mike Lee: Yes, I mean bothered to look it up. I remember there was a Treasury/DCMS joint report published in February 2007. I have it here if you’d like me to read from it, but what it says, in essence, is, "Here are the reasons that London 2012 won. This is part of the lessons we have to learn. Why 2006 lost." One of the things they were very pointed about was saying, "In terms of your messaging it’s very important to understand and articulate legacy. What is the nature of the legacy, both for this country and for the global sport of football?" They recommended organisationally that their preference-they didn’t insist, they couldn’t-was to create an arm’s-length company to the FA similar to what London 2012 constructed. I know Richard Caborn, the previous Sports Minister, argued very strongly for that, and I continue to believe that that would give you more flexibility. You develop a real focus on the bid. You’re not so embroiled in the domestic politics of English football, which are complicated as you have been discovering.

I do think that it ended up in a situation at a certain moment where you have a role of the chairman of the FA, which is different to being leader of a bid. Now, that isn’t true in every country. There were two winning countries: Russia and Qatar, by the way. At the time of winning neither of their bid leaders were chairman of their FA. So I think this ability as a bid to be focused on the campaign, your marketing, your communications, your lobbying strategy, and not being drawn back into domestic disputes and also having a board that really represents what you want to take out globally. I don’t think we had that as a board here and I felt as well, at the end, I wasn’t clear what leadership we had after Lord Triesman resigned. Was it Geoff Thompson? Was it David Deane? Was it Andy Anson? This was a lack of clarity that cost us internationally.

Q39 Dr Coffey: I’m just trying to compare the bidding process between England and Qatar, just in their approach. You announced your bid, I think, in May 2009, and England’s bid was announced much earlier than that, 18 months before. Do you think that was a strategic mistake?

Mike Lee: There was a curious time, wasn’t there, when I wasn’t sure whether Number 10 Downing Street was deciding whether we were bidding or it was the Football Association, and I think the FA got a little bit bounced in terms of timing. You have to make decisions based on what you think is right for your own bid and for your own country. I do think this question of how you maintain momentum-you know, general election campaigns, you could say, are five years long but in essence what are they? Six, eight weeks maximum. You’re trying to maintain a two to two and a half year campaign. So I think having a sense of timing and where you’re going with a bid and where you want to end up in the final presentation is important. Again, I felt there was maybe a lack of that phased thinking, but I don’t know. I wasn’t part of England 2018. I had a sense that they sort of ran out of steam at a certain moment and came back with a little bit of a flourish but it was all too late.

Q40 Dr Coffey: Well, I was going to put it to Lord Triesman later about the suggestion that Gordon Brown had effectively said to the FA, "Either you announce it or I will," but we’ll come to that later.

Mike Lee: A similar thing, if I may. I don’t want to appear over-critical of Mr Brown, but one of the things that Tony Blair brought to London 2012 and you might say Vladimir Putin brought to Sochi 2014 and Russia 2018 was sustained, concentrated activity in terms of direct support, working the international scene, being present when they were needed. Tony Blair was one of the key reasons that we won London 2012. I must say, looking back to England 2018, and maybe David Triesman would comment on this, I didn’t feel it was this wholehearted rush of activity and real sustained work coming from the highest levels of Government.

Q41 Dr Coffey: In terms of the other aspect, you criticised the team bid effectively not being able to go into the room in Zurich and know who had voted for them

Mike Lee: Was going to vote.

Dr Coffey: Sorry, who was going to vote. Okay, thank you for that clarification. When we went to Germany-this wasn’t particularly on the record and I can’t even remember exactly who said it-we had two things. One was that the FA wasn’t arrogant and in fact they should be more self-confident, interestingly. The second thing was that, a year before, one of our ambassadors, if you like, had asked the advice of somebody prominent in Germany, and they said, "Oh, I’m really sorry. You must be aware, of course, that Russia and Qatar have already won". So at what point did you think that Qatar had it in the bag?

Mike Lee: Well, totally genuinely-and you can believe me if you wish-it was when President Blatter opened the envelope in Zurich. I mean, there are always theories. I can tell you a conspiracy theory about every bid I’ve worked on, about who is going to win, and in 2016 it was a guarantee for Chicago-they went out in the first ballot with 18 votes. Things can happen in the course of bid campaigns that make them unpredictable. My own assessment, for what it was worth, was that in 2022 it was going to a final ballot between Qatar and the USA. I wasn’t sure who would win between those two. My own assessment, for what it’s worth, on 2018 was that England would not win, but I thought they would get more than two votes. I was listening, including from some people in this room, to theories that England were going to get seven or eight in the first round and would be spring-boarding to victory in the third ballot. So theories kick about all the time.

I feel quite strongly about the arrogance question. When Andy Anson took over as CEO of 2018 he really criticised the 2006 bid for being arrogant. It’s a word he used, "They were arrogant. Their messaging was wrong." They criticised the start of the campaign. I Unfortunately, particularly towards the end, many of the same mistakes were being repeated in terms of tone of voice. At times we did sound like Little Englanders, and when you’re talking to a global audience making global decisions, which is multi-cultural, multi-national, multi-lingual, you have to think differently. I didn’t feel we were doing that, even with the final presentation, and I don’t think that the Prime Minister, Prince William and Beckham could have won it for us, but the style of that presentation didn’t necessarily help.

It rather confirmed something. We think we’re the best at everything to do with football, and we are pretty good at it. We have some fantastic traditions. We’ve done amazing things in football of which we’re very proud and, incidentally, the FA’s reputation internationally is pretty good. It’s better internationally than it is here in England. But sometimes we don’t know when we’re being arrogant when we speak to the rest of the world, particularly about sport, and it’s one of the reasons we do not have enough people in leading positions not only in football but in other sports as well.

I am interested in lessons learned, and one of the reasons to me is that UK Sport, on the back of London 2012’s victory, have developed an international leadership programme thinking about how we can support sport administrators and people that work in the politics of sport to take up more leading positions in the international sports federations. The FA should be doing exactly that thinking with the Premier League in relation to UEFA and FIFA because we don’t know, at times, when we’re being arrogant and we don’t know, at times, how to build the right alliances and build the right friendships.

Q42 Alan Keen: Mike, we know that England wouldn’t even take part in the early World Cup, but I’m sure that’s been long forgotten. In your experience of administration in football over the last good few years now, have you found that the FA has not engaged with UEFA and FIFA enough over the three decades, for instance? That’s the relevant period probably.

Mike Lee: My sense, and I’ve worked for UEFA for four years so I saw a little bit on the inside, is that the engagement is not consistent enough. It doesn’t feel strategically thought through. Frankly, it’s often accompanied by too much internal politics that comes out of English football. I was struck, by the way, that earlier this year the England bid for the Under-21 European Championships, in a vote taken by the UEFA Executive Committee, received no votes. I was stunned by that. Have we really lost the plot? As I say, our standard of English football in the FA and the Premier League is significant and we end up polling no votes for a European Under-21s. So I think there is work to be done.

I don’t know whether this is something the FA will want to look at but I think they should, this point about arrogance because of partly the point about "China invented it and we wrote the rules," we have four guaranteed places on the International Football Association board, which is as many as the rest of the world put together. This is the law-making body of the game. Obviously it’s serviced and supported by FIFA who have their own representatives. We can never have a majority on that body but we have this privileged position of four guaranteed places for the home countries. We also have a guaranteed British vice presidency. Now, I would like to know what we are doing with those positions. They feel like positions of privilege without power and they cause resentment, there is no doubt about it, and it has been raised before in FIFA.

Some of these positions that we’re holding out of, in a sense, our original role in creating the rules of the game and the creation of FIFA are still in play. I personally feel if the FA are going to conduct a review of their standing with the international game, they should have their honesty to consider their positions on the International Football Association board and the guaranteed nature of a British vice presidency position because, believe me, in other parts of the world who are working very hard at football, have served on committees for 10 or 15 years or 20 years, they look at that and they think, "Why exactly have the Brits got that? Why do they go on deserving that when the rules of the game and indeed the decisions taken at the highest levels of FIFA should be open and surely, in some way, should be democratic?" So when we lecture them about democracy, they do occasionally raise these points.

Q43 Alan Keen: Do you think there was a sign of that element when we had Scotland and Ireland, I think, originally wanting to retain that privilege and being reluctant to have a Great Britain side for the Olympics?

Mike Lee: Yes, it comes totally out of that, and I have to say they’re totally wrong. They have had total reassurances on this from the president himself and from many others. Seb Coe and the London team have made it clear. They’re wrong on that, and it comes down to protecting that privilege. They ought to be sending a British team to London 2012. They should be proud of the fact that they have this opportunity, but it comes back to exactly that point: defending previous privileges which, in the modern game, which is truly global, and has every region of the world represented and active in it, don’t stack up.

Q44 Alan Keen: We know there is a certain resentment against the Premier League but Michel Platini said recently that he felt that the power and the pressure again in England wasn’t a good thing. Did that damage our chances of bidding, or is that just an ongoing resentment? Are there any grounds to that?

Mike Lee: I think the Premier League is an amazing success story. I was proud to have been a part of it in the 1990s. The growth in it has been fantastic. Globally, it is the best recognised league in the world. It’s obviously commercially the most successful. You can travel anywhere in the world and you can switch on a Premier League football match. The individual players, the fact that we have players from all over the world, the fact we have club brands that are the number one in places like Asia and so on is fantastic for us. But that is a lot different to how you win a World Cup bid, and I think one of the mistakes that was made in the end was, first of all, there wasn’t enough partnership between the FA, the bid and the Premier League, for all sorts of reasons. Secondly, I think that we ended up in Zurich presenting this global picture of the Premier League, about which clearly, in national associations, there is a mixed view: "You’ve taken our best players. You’ve taken our best coaches. You keep telling us you’re the best." I don’t think the Premier League damaged the bid, but I don’t think there was the right balance in the relationship along the course of the bid. I think in the end it had been used in a way that did not work when it came down to the voters.

Q45 Alan Keen: I don’t like to lose an opportunity-I never do at these Committees-to particularly put the points to people with connections through to the IOC, but is it not an awful waste of money to have bids?

Take the IOC first; we’ll keep off football for a second, but it is a great parallel. Would it not be better for the IOC themselves to decide who is going to be offered the next Olympic Games-not the next one obviously, but that is the principle I am talking about. Countries spend a vast amount of money that could be invested in the sport itself, and we want developing nations to have the opportunity to host these events. Do you think in the case of Russia and maybe Qatar that FIFA were taking the decision that I’d like these governing bodies to have taken, to give the games to less prominent football nations to help develop the game, but they did not tell the FA before they made the bid that that was the decision they were going to make? Or do you think it was-

Mike Lee: I don’t think that was a decision. I don’t buy the fact that the wise members of the executive board of the IOC or of FIFA are sitting there with a pre-planned scheme of where it is going. They have a set of criteria. There are 20 criteria in the context of a FIFA World Cup bid-legacy and development is a key part of that-and each campaign is different. If you look at the decisions that I have personally been involved in like London and Rio, also rugby as a sport going in and so on, you are building a dynamic case and campaign; you are doing it over time; you are being technically checked out; you are being tested by the media: you are going through a process. It may be not so true of the FIFA campaigns but certainly in the IOC campaigns, the bidding process is great for the IOC. It enhances their brand. You have these great cities of the world wanting to host the games; investing; thinking about sport and about sport development. So I don’t buy into a few wise men just making an isolated decision. No one forces anybody to bid. The likelihood is for the 2020 summer games, the next huge bid, there is going to be another interesting range of candidates coming from all over the world. They do this for a reason. They do it because they believe it can be of benefit to their city, to their country and to their sport. Certainly the evidence, with the possible exception of Montreal, is on the whole-take Barcelona for example, 1992-the effect can be dramatic. I think London is going to be a huge success. No one forces anybody to bid, and bid processes at their best can be a step forward for everybody concerned and hopefully you end up with the right people winning.

Q46 Alan Keen: We recommended in 2009 when we released our last report that we should adopt the FIFA definition of the 6 + 5 in that there should be six people on the pitch-the Premier League, we are talking about-at any one time who were qualified to play for their home nation; England in this case. Do you think if we adopted that in this country, the Premier League would be less dominant worldwide and it would give other countries a chance to keep their own best players so that you had more equality in the football leagues around the world? Would such moves, like getting rid of the four home nations’ representation on FIFA, show FIFA and the rest of the world that the Premier League-and therefore the FA, which they connect very closely, however there may be divisions-do care about the rest of the world?

Mike Lee: Well, you have had Richard Scudamore and Sir Dave Richards here discussing those issues. I would make a more general point: engagement with UEFA and FIFA is about being engaged; present; having the right people involved. It’s about attending and working hard and also it is about times and shaping policy rather than all standing out against it. I can see the change in direction that has occurred in the last few years which is a greater emphasis on home-grown players, which I personally think is a good thing. Where it all goes and how it is compatible with EU law seems to me to be an open debate. We cannot set our face against the rest of the world on some of those issues about protecting and nurturing local and domestic talent.

I have to say that I think the Premier League has done a fantastic job in its academy system. We are seeing more young players coming through. But inevitably with everything from club licensing, financial fair play, home-grown players, balance of the squad in the Champions League matches, for example, there is certainly a direction which reflects what you are saying: that we should not just be standing against that tide. We should be working with it to make sure it goes in the right shape.

Chair: I think we have strayed a little way away from the 2018 bid and therefore probably we should draw a line there. So can I thank you very much for coming.

Examination of Witnesses

Witness: Lord Triesman, former chairman of the English 2018 World Cup bid team, gave evidence.

Q47 Chair: Lord Triesman, I welcome you back to the Committee this morning.

You will recall that right at the tail end of your previous appearance I asked you if you had any observations on the England bid and the outcom e of the 2018 World Cup contest, and you said at that time that that would require a much longer session but you indicated to us that you did have some concerns, particularly as a result of some of the conversations you had had with members of the FIFA executive. Would you like to expand on that and tell us what are your concerns about your experience in dealing with FIFA during that time?

Lord Triesman: Chairman, I think there are two sets of issues. Let me just distinguish between the two, otherwise it will be a confused comment that I make. The first is about what potentially are the ingredients for working with FIFA as a whole in order to deliver a successful World Cup. I think you have just heard what I regard as in a substantial way a very accurate description of that from Mike Lee. The second area is about the conduct of some members of the FIFA executive. What I had in mind when I was last in front of the Committee was not that I would retail every rumour-Mike Lee is absolutely right; the place is awash with rumours all the time-but that I would, if it was thought helpful by the Committee, go to the specifics of some things which were put to me personally, sometimes in the presence of others, which in my view did not represent proper and ethical behaviour on the part of those members of the committee. If that is helpful, I think it is probably high time it was ventilated.

Q48 Chair: That would be helpful, and I think the Committee would like to hear it.

Lord Triesman: Let me start if I may, Chairman, with a couple of the stories that investigative journalists have already started on, although I suspect there is more detail.

The first concerns a proposition that was put to me and to Sir Dave Richards on 7 October in the afternoon at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, in the business suite there. We were invited by Jack Warner to meet him that afternoon after he had spoken at the Leaders in Football conference. He said that he had things that he wanted to talk to us about and put to us. Sir Dave and I speculated about what that might be in the taxi ride over to Chelsea, but it did not take us very long in the discussion with him before he came to the point. He said, and I took notes then and wrote down a contemporaneous note as soon as I got home, that he was very concerned; he believed that after all of his years in Trinidad and Tobago football, he had nothing that he could regard as his legacy; things that he would think were his legacy. What he had in mind was that some sort of school should be built, or an education establishment should be built, which had some affinity with football, possibly with some sort of academy role in the school, but essentially a school and with a proper set of offices which would be his legacy to the Trinidad and Tobago football authority, from which they could work in the future. As he described it, Sir Dave nodded to me. I understood exactly what the nod meant. It meant this is what we probably came in the room expecting to hear. I said immediately that in my view the proposition was out of the question. Sir Dave said in what I can only really describe as a stage whisper-you could certainly have heard it around that lounge-I’ll leave out some of the language-Sir Dave said, "You must be joking, Jack. You’re talking about probably £2.5 million." Jack Warner nodded at that and sat back. He didn’t say anything. He nodded at it. But he then said that the funds could be channelled through him and he would guarantee that they were appropriately spent.

Some time later, because that was obviously an event to which we did not respond positively, nor would we respond positively, he got in touch with me after the appalling disaster in Haiti. I think we were all concerned about that, Chairman. I could just illustrate it very, very quickly if I may. When the earthquake struck, a number of Haitian referees were meeting at their football headquarters and a number of them were killed. It was an appalling disaster for Haiti generally speaking, but certainly football suffered its part of that disaster. Jack Warner got in touch with me and he said that the thing that in his view would lift the spirits of the people of Haiti was if they could see the World Cup; football would lift people’s spirits, and what he needed was somebody to make the donation to buy the television rights so that large screens could be erected in Haiti so that people could watch the games. He believed that if he had a sum of about half a million pounds sent to him, he could secure those rights. I again said that that was in my view entirely out of the question. Of course I would love to think that people could see the tournament from wherever they were but that that was out of the question. Some time later it was put to me that he was the owner of those rights but whether he was or he was not, those were the sums that were mentioned. I probably ought to add, Chairman, that because of what we felt about it, as soon as we could we sent a team of referee trainers to try and train the next echelon of referees in Haiti to step up and rebuild their capacity. That seemed to me to be the proper way of trying to respond to the problem that they had encountered.

A second example is from 3 November 2009, when we met Nicolás Leoz in Asunción. We were presenting the World Cup bid to him. There was a brief interlude toward the end of the introduction to the bid. I would describe it as not a break in the conversation; it was a conversation which essentially continued as I was guided from the table around which we were all sitting to a display cabinet in which there was a large book in which there were facsimiles of the very many honours that he had received from a number of different countries, and indeed photos of streets and street signs around the world which had been named after him also as a matter of honour. The translation-because I don’t speak Spanish, although I can occasionally understand a word or two and I won’t pretend that I could understand it-was as I recall it undertaken by Mr Amaral. Mr Leoz said that he believed that the appropriate way of recognising his achievements in world football was not by money-he didn’t need money, he already was personally a very wealthy man. That was not what he sought. But he was deeply concerned about whether people recognised what he had achieved in terms of the honours that he had received. I was shown the facsimile of his Légion d’Honneur and I was then told, through the translator but directly after he had spoken, that he believed that a knighthood from the United Kingdom would be appropriate. It was put to me that as a former Foreign Office Minister, I must know how these things are organised and could probably achieve it if we had a mind to do so. I said that it was completely impossible; we did not operate in the United Kingdom like that. Mr Leoz shrugged his shoulders and turned and walked away.

The third example was on 14 November in Qatar with Mr Teixeira, the representative of the Brazilian Football Association and this was a very much briefer encounter. We had just lost to Brazil and I was congratulating him and he was commiserating with me-he has some English, certainly, but relatively limited English-and I said I was looking forward to coming to Brazil to talk to him about our bid and that I was personally delighted that President Lula, with whose State visit I had been involved as a Foreign Office Minister responsible, among other things, for the Americas, had given us express support for the chance to host the World Cup in 2018. Mr Teixeira said to me, "Lula is nothing. You come and tell me what you have for me." Now I understand that that could be sufficiently ambiguous as to refer to a variety of things, but I must say that I thought it was a surprising way of putting it and, in its way, a shocking way of putting it, because it would be easy to interpret, "What you have for me" as meaning, "What do you have for me?" rather than anything else.

The fourth example to bring to your attention, Chairman, is this. We had a number of conversations with Mr Worawi Makudi, telephone conversations for the most part. He was eager to secure a match between the England team and the Thai team, and I have to tell you that discussions about the possibility of playing matches in countries, even if they are not at the top of our list of desired friendly matches, is a discussion that takes place, and it would be foolish to pretend that it doesn’t. He was eager to see the match take place to commemorate-it was either the 50th or 60th, I think 60th anniversary, but it could no doubt be checked-of the King of Thailand’s accession to the throne.

Mr Makudi said it would be a great honour if England came, and we talked about the possibilities, how it would fit in at the end of the season, what the arrangements might be with the clubs. But the one thing that he did insist on was that one way or another the TV rights to the broadcasts in the United Kingdom would go to him. I made the point to him that, broadly speaking, the rights to games played overseas are owned by the federations or those in the countries where the game is being played. So, for the sake of argument, if we played in France, the rights to a game would be held by whatever arrangements the French Association has with its broadcasters for games of that kind. It was not, in any case, in my view, something that we could or should organise, and I told him that. But that was what he believed was the critical thing to making the arrangement a success.

Those four examples, Chairman, struck me as being way out of any of the understandings I ever had of what the Ethics Committee of FIFA would expect or FIFA would expect.

I just finish the point, if I may-and forgive me for retailing it at length, but I was asked to be explicit about these things-I thought, having taken quite a lot of advice over a period about the Ethics Committee, that from the point at which Seb Coe was asked to step back from the chairmanship of the Ethics Committee of FIFA, which he chaired with great success over a period of time, but because he was linked to the England bid, and it was therefore thought potentially inappropriate, there was a vacuum in FIFA for some considerable time about the adjudication of ethics issues, and those were four specific examples where I thought that the standards were way below anything we would ever accept in this country.

Q49 Chair: Can I ask you to clarify? How overt in your mind was the linkage in each of the four cases between what was being asked for and the promise of a vote for an England bid?

Lord Triesman: In the first three examples they all took place absolutely in the context of formal approaches about the bid, and in the case of Mr Teixeira it was the second or third sentence in from saying that we were looking forward to coming to Brazil in order to present our bid to him. I think that with Mr Makudi, it might be argued that the events were potentially different, but it is hard not to think that a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, who is potentially seeking what might be a very lucrative arrangement around a football match, is unaware of the idea settling in my mind, or in the minds of people in this country who are responsible for the bid, that these things would be linked.

Q50 Chair: When you had these conversations, were you aware of reports and rumours that this was quite common practice for members of the Executive Committee, or some members of the Executive Committee, to seek some kind of payment in order to secure their support?

Lord Triesman: Rather as Mike Lee said, the place is awash with rumours the whole way through this and it is always a bit difficult to know-some of the rumours are very fanciful-which ones to believe. But there were certainly a large number of rumours of that kind. I must say that there were also people who were saying to me, "There are some people in this FIFA Board who we can tell you,"-and I would say this is all a bit dismaying-"are honest in an absolutely stellar way." People would always say that of Mr Ogura in Japan, Dr Chung in South Korea, of Michel Platini, of Senes Erzik in Turkey. There were always people who were mentioned on the other side of it as people who were completely incorruptible.

Q51 Chair: What did you do about these individuals who you felt had not behaved appropriately? Did you express your concerns to FIFA?

Lord Triesman: That is an absolutely critical question. What we did-I am not sure it was the right thing to do, and I will acknowledge that-was that we decided, inevitably, that we would not engage in any of those kinds of activities, whatever the suggestions were. There was a huge amount of pressure to try and secure these games for England, a huge desire not to burn off any prospect of doing so, and although there have from time to time been some discussions with people at FIFA, the point was not pressed. I think in retrospect we would have burned off our chances of the games very much earlier-probably no greater disadvantage than we ended up with, when one thinks of the entire ballot-had we said what we knew to be happening earlier.

Q52 Chair: So you felt that to make a complaint that some members of the Executive Committee were being unduly influenced by what can best be described as bribes, and to pursue that the only result would be to absolutely ensure England stood no chance at all?

Lord Triesman: Yes. Not only that, but when you listen to some of the things that members of the Committee said when The Sunday Times and then Panorama quite rightly, in my judgment, published the evidence they had about corrupt practice, the response was immediately that if we in England, including our media, behave like that, "Then you cannot expect any support from us."

Q53 Chair: You will have heard that we have received a further submission from The Sunday Times, which names other members of the Executive Committee and suggests that they received payment in support of the Qatar bid. Is that something which comes as a surprise to you?

Lord Triesman: I suppose these days I am not surprised by any of it, Chairman. The truth is that if it can be stood up by good journalism it ought to be taken seriously. I haven’t heard those allegations directly myself, but I would like to think that good investigative journalism will have established whether there is a fundamental case, and if there is a fundamental case it cannot be right for FIFA to ignore that, any more that it ignores anything else.

Q54 Chair: On the basis of your experience, both in terms of your direct contact with certain members, and indeed from having observed the process, do you think that the outcome of the 2018 and 2022 contests was unduly influenced by improper behaviour on behalf of some members of the Executive Committee?

Lord Triesman: I think it will have been influenced to some extent. I also think that there were a number of things that we failed to understand about the character of the competition. Indeed I found myself having quite a lot of sympathy with what Mike Lee said about some of those factors. So I think there were a number of different features, but certainly the behaviour of some individuals in a very small electorate, an electorate of course diminished from 24 to 22 by two people being stood down for corruption in the course of the process. It sounds rather like a narrow statistician, forgive me, but the variants that each of those voting members represents is, of course, quite considerable, if you think of it in electoral terms.

But let me add, if I may, that when we first embarked on the bid, because I do think this was a factor, we were very strongly encouraged to do so by Jérôme Valcke, largely because he believed it would be very helpful if a hosting nation could guarantee a very considerable commercial success without there being any considerable risk around that success, and we looked to be a very natural candidate in those circumstances.

What was not put to us was that the desire of a number of people was to see a far greater geographical spread of the opening of new markets, and I think that was genuinely a significant factor, and not a factor that was built into our thinking, largely because of the guidance we were receiving in a different direction. Had that been said to us at the beginning I would have probably advised the FA not to make a bid.

Q55 Chair: Would you accept that on that particular criterion, unlike payment of bribes, that is a perfectly legitimate aim for FIFA? They perhaps should have made it clear in the first place, but if that was one of the key considerations they are perfectly entitled to adopt it.

Lord Triesman: Yes, I think they are absolutely entitled to adopt it. They could help bidding nations. There are advantages in bidding even if you are not successful. There is not much of an advantage in bidding if you are humiliated, but there are advantages in pursuing bids and seeing if you can build on the experience of bids over a period of time, all of that is true. But if there is to be a filter, and that is a perfectly legitimate filter, then someone should tell you at the beginning before money that would otherwise go into children’s football in parks, and the proper organisation of the sport at the grassroots, is diverted into an exercise of this kind.

Q56 Chair: It is a perfectly understandable frustration that perhaps we entered a contest without fully appreciating the rules under which it was being conducted, but obviously the suggestion that there was widespread breach of the rules is a much more serious matter. What do you think needs to happen? What should FIFA do to try and clean up its act?

Lord Triesman: I think it needs to do a series of things. The first thing is to produce a very much wider electorate. I don’t think that is the only answer in this incidentally, because what we do see of voting in FIFA, for example, for the presidency of FIFA, is that continental blocs very frequently vote together, so it would not automatically create the kind of diversity that you get in the award of an Olympic Games, but I believe it would help because it is not always possible to corral everybody, and over a period of time people would probably break out of the corral.

Secondly, I think that it is imperative that FIFA has a proper Ethics Committee, properly chaired, as Seb Coe unquestionably did chair it properly, that has absolutely explicit powers and which takes every prima facie case that is presented with good evidence seriously and investigates it. The option of saying, "We simply don’t believe that it happens and we are not going to investigate, but we think it is a slur that somebody should even suggest that it is the case", seems to me to belong to-well, certainly not to any modern period in any modern institution.

Q57 Dr Coffey: But if there is an Ethics Committee and member nations like the FA cannot be bothered to take allegations to it of impropriety, why bother? Because frankly I am appalled that we did not take our view there, and also the evidence that you were suggesting that Russia and others had bribed referees. If you are not prepared to put an allegation forward why does the Committee exist?

Lord Triesman: I said that I thought that conforming to the expectations that we should try and win this but without behaving improperly, in retrospect, was not the right view to take, and I accept that point. But the Chairman’s question understandably is, "Going forward what might we do that was different?" and I am trying to illustrate that.

Q58 Dr Coffey: So you would encourage anybody with any suggestion of allegation with evidence, and I assume you will now present this evidence to FIFA, that we should give a green light to all whistle-blowers to do that.

Lord Triesman: To all credible whistle blowing-

Dr Coffey: Yes, but you have evidence there.

Lord Triesman: So long as it is credible and it is not just simply the retailing of unsubstantiated rumours, I think that your point is right.

Q59 Dr Coffey: So you will go to FIFA now with your suggestions will you?

Lord Triesman: I always said I would come to a committee in Parliament first, because I am a parliamentarian myself. That would be the first step, but I think it is right to then proceed.

Q60 Dr Coffey: You could have said it in the Chamber with parliamentary privilege, couldn’t you?

Lord Triesman: I am not entirely sure under which piece of recent legislation I would have got up and made that speech, but I will ponder that.

Q61 Dr Coffey: I am sure you could always do a debate or you could have asked for a debate on a particular matter.

Lord Triesman: Indeed, and I would probably have had-what is it now, given the size of the Chamber?-a one in 770 chance of securing it.

Dr Coffey: I think Madam Speaker would have been-

Q62 Paul Farrelly: Before we move on to the FA, the personnel and the changes, I wanted to clear up a couple of curiosity items, as it were, on this point. How did the man from Paraguay come by his Légion d H onneur? Did you ask him?

Lord Triesman: No, I decided-

Paul Farrelly: I don’t want to insinuate that France held a very successful World Cup bid for 1998, but did you ask him?

Lord Triesman: No, I took the view that I wasn’t going to proceed with that conversation any further than it had gone, but he had come by-let alone the Légion d’ H onneur-a very significant number of other awards.

Q63 Paul Farrelly: We will leave that in FIFA’s hands to investigate or otherwise. Secondly, you mention the media-I think we are going to have some questions about the media later. Wasn’t it the reality that the bid was lost long before The Sunday Times came sniffing around; that the numbers weren’t there?

Lord Triesman: I think that is probably true. I think that what may have happened over the period is that we moved from the position that wasn’t a winning position to a position that was an extremely poor losing position, and that that was one of the factors.

Paul Farrelly: If you look-

Lord Triesman: Let me add, I imply no criticism. I know that some people were critical of the media telling stories about corruption. I thought there were a number of things that were said in the media that were very disobliging about this country and various features of the bid, but that is up to them. That is their choice. What I think nobody could object to is proper investigative journalism revealing the facts.

Q64 Paul Farrelly: Sure, but if you look at the way the voting went, there were two people in particular who knew that England did not have the votes, and those are the two people who voted for Netherlands and Belgium to finish you off in the first round because that vote dropped by two and they switched to Russia afterwards. Did you know who the dastardly duo were who really had it in for you?

Lord Triesman: No, I haven’t investigated it, but if you told me I would be intrigued.

Q65 Paul Farrelly: No, I am just asking the question. The final curiosity question: do you know who were the "truthful twosome"? Who were the two who voted for us?

Lord Triesman: Oh-

Paul Farrelly: If you hazard a guess who would you put your finger on?

Lord Triesman: I think Geoff Thompson would have been one of them.

Q66 Paul Farrelly: You have no idea about the second?

Lord Triesman: I think despite the fact that he was the subject of one of the allegations, there is a reasonably good chance that the representative of Cameroon was the other one. He made a very public promise in front of his African football executive that he would support it in a way that, in my judgement, he need not have done and would certainly have made his stance very visible to a number of people. Backing off that might have been a rather more complex issue.

Q67 Mr Sanders: Did England’s bid deserve to win?

Lord Triesman: I would like to have won. I don’t know that it was done to the standards that, in the final analysis, would have justified it winning, particularly if the criteria were the movement through to new geographical areas. If I may say so, not in a spirit of arrogance, because I couldn’t stand those signs of arrogance if they ever bubbled through to the surface-I think there were a number of things that were genuinely compelling about our bid, not least those elements of legacy that we were able to identify, some of which we didn’t do precisely because of the bid. The outreach work in Africa, for example, had been going on for a decade before we made the bid, but I was very proud of that work in the FA. It was being done with some of the poorest children in the world, and some of the richest football stars in the world were prepared to take part in doing it. So I think it was the case that some of the things we were doing, and intended to step up to an even higher level, probably ought to have given us a little bit more credit.

Q68 Mr Sanders: Is there anything that should have been done differently?

Lord Triesman: I am sure there were a number of things that should have been done differently. I find it hard to comment on the last seven or eight months, for obvious reasons, but I think that over the years there was a great deal more that could have been done in working with both FIFA and UEFA. I completely accept that.

One of the first things I did when I arrived at the FA was to ask a number of colleagues to run-and for the most part they were successful-in elections to various UEFA bodies: David Elleray, David Gill, Peter Kenyon, myself as the Senior Vice Chairman of the International Competitions Committee, Ian Watmore, and I think there were four or five others, but I would have to say that this was pretty late in the day in the sequence of disengagement that some have, quite rightly, criticised. In FIFA I think that, apart from the meetings of the International Football Association Board, we were present because we had one of the Vice Presidents. That was about as present as we ever were. Those are long term structural problems and I think that we suffered from them. I think that it is true to say that there were aspects of the bid that were complex and quite difficult to explain, and I am not sure whether they were successfully explained to our domestic media. Let me give you a couple of examples of those, if I may.

The representative of Côte d'Ivoire, Jacques Anouma, was the personal financial adviser and very close associate of President Laurent Gbagbo. Anybody who has watched Côte d'Ivoire over the last months will understand the character of President Gbagbo’s regime and the extent of the control that he exerted in that regime. Indeed, it was sufficiently difficult and involved sufficient crimes against humanity for the United Nations to involve itself directly. I took the view that there was not a prayer that Jacques Anouma would do anything that President Gbagbo did not want him to do. You could take him to see Old Trafford and Wembley; you could talk to him about football until the cows come home, but the reality was that that would be something that was much more likely to be directed by a ruthless dictator in charge of that country. Mr Abu Reda, a very close associate of the Mubaraks: what were the prospects, unless there was some agreement at a more senior level, of persuading him to back England? These were regimes that were not only capable of deciding who should be in all of these key positions but determining their behaviour.

Q69 Chair: Could I come back to another story that has emerged today. You have made it clear that you took a view that the England bid would not resort to any of these tactics that you would regard as improper. A story has appeared about the England bid team having employed security consultants to snoop in the hotel lobbies to try and obtain information. Would you like to comment on that?

Lord Triesman: I don’t think, Chairman, that there was ever at any stage any improper behaviour in trying to get a view about what was happening across all of the competing bids. To my knowledge it was done-and when I was there it was done-openly and properly, and the people who assisted in running all of the bids, I think, were alert to what other bids were doing, but not by snooping, not by means that I think were dubious. I was not aware of anything that was dubious.

Q70 Chair: No, but were you surprised when you heard the reports that the England bid team had security people seeking to obtain information about other bids?

Lord Triesman: I knew the whole way through we were trying to understand what other bids were doing. For example, there were a number of occasions when people from other bids were on the road and seeing FIFA Executive Committee members in their countries. We tried to keep track of that because it was believed that if we didn’t keep track of it and we didn’t see them in their countries, or if we were seeing them after somebody else rather than before somebody else, we would need to think hard about how we were campaigning, but I am talking about issues at that level.

Q71 Chair: Would you regard the use of consultants, to try and obtain information by listening into conversations, as improper or perfectly fair as all part of this process?

Lord Triesman: I suppose it depends. If they are hanging around with a group of people and they hear a conversation, it would be a bit hard in the world of football, where everybody has constant and probably indiscreet conversations, not to hear some of that, but if it meant an intrusive approach I would not regard that as at all appropriate.

Q72 Damian Collins: How does one keep track of a member of FIFA Exco?

Lord Triesman: You have some fixed points that you know are going to be in their diaries: they are going to be at the FIFA Executive; they are usually going to be at the executive of their continental federations; you know that in some cases they are likely to turn up at some of the big events around the football world: SoccerEx and Leaders in Football, and so on. So you can see where quite a lot of them are going to be quite a lot of the time. Also, because they are on committees you know when all those committees are meeting. So, if they are going to be up in Zurich or in Nyon you will know about that. That probably gives you a pretty strong indication of what their diary looks like.

Q73 Damian Collins: Did you have people monitoring these meetings, and these events, that weren’t known to the FA officials or part of the England bid?

Lord Triesman: No, I don’t think that we ever went around in a way that we did not disclose. I am not aware that we ever did that and, candidly, I wouldn’t see the point.

Q74 Damian Collins: I want to briefly go back one final time to Jack Warner’s hotel room. It is difficult to see you and Sir Dave Richards as blushing maidens. You are both men of the world of football, and clearly you went into that meeting with some expectation that Jack Warner might have requirements from the England bid team that he wanted to discuss with you. Going into that meeting, what sort of things would you have been prepared to offer?

Lord Triesman: One of the things I knew that he felt very strongly about was that we had put a large amount of our effort, in development capacity-building terms, into Africa, and that he believed that there were a number of places in the Caribbean that ought to be considered for development work. They don’t always come up in the indices of the most poor countries because they often have mixtures in their economy that are a bit wealthier and a bit poorer, but there are unquestionably countries where it is a struggle to train the coaches, to train the referees, and it did seem to me that he was quite likely to put to us the need for greater investment in his federation in those areas. That is something that we would have considered in our normal programme.

Q75 Damian Collins: What about accepting offers for England matches-England played a Trinidad and Tobago friendly, as you alluded to earlier? Some of the England friendlies aren’t necessarily against the sort of ranking teams that England would feel it needs to play against. Other federations might say, "Well, this is an ace up England’s sleeve that it can use and we can’t."

Lord Triesman: We had already done it. The match was played within a month of my arriving at the FA, and I think had been booked into the schedule a year or a year and a half before that. So we had gone to Trinidad and Tobago. Some of the star players had met a number of the kids and young aspirant footballers in Trinidad and Tobago. I didn’t think he was likely to ask us for that, because the idea of going back a couple of times in two years would not have been realistic in anybody’s book.

Q76 Damian Collins: I would like to go back to your resignation and the events around that. Firstly, the allegations that you made-I suppose, in an off-the-record situation-that were reported, which led to your resignation. Did you feel that there was enough basis to those allegations that that is something you should have taken up with FIFA? It is not an example that you gave to the Committee today about concerns about corrupt practices.

Lord Triesman: I want to express this cautiously, because there are matters that are still in front of the PCC and I don’t want to trespass inappropriately. What I had said, to be accurate about it, was that there were a number of rumours around. I will tell the Committee that I had been approached by a Spanish investigative journalist who wanted to put to me a number of things which he wanted to know whether I had either heard about or believed might be happening here. He was writing what I assume would be a pretty substantive story that covered the manipulation of referees and also questions of avoiding the doping regulation in Spanish sport. As I understood it, he had access to the tape of a discussion that a Spanish investigating magistrate had managed to get hold of, in which some of these things appear to have been discussed between fairly senior people in Spain. But I didn’t put it in my list because even a good and serious journalist coming along with a story of that kind might very well not be accurate. It might be a rumour, and I said it was among the more fanciful things I thought I’d heard.

Q77 Damian Collins: You must regret the fact that you were recorded as making those comments, given that you feel-compared to other statements you have made today-that those allegations were fanciful enough that they didn’t warrant further discussion in your evidence of this morning.

Lord Triesman: It was a very light-hearted discussion over a cup of coffee. Rather as people who know each other and are chatting about football might have. Of course I would rather it hadn’t happened, but the fact is you don’t expect, while having a cup of coffee with somebody who you think is a friend that they are recording you and then going to sell it to a newspaper.

Q78 Damian Collins: You said something about the Spanish, and ultimately the allegations are in regard to the Russian Federation as well. Do you have anything more to say about that?

Lord Triesman: It was part of the sequence of questions that the Spanish journalist put to me in which he said, among other things, did I have any view about why a Spanish Sports Minister should have been at a discussion about oil and gas between the two Governments. I had no idea. I have no idea whether it happened.

Q79 Damian Collins: Mike Lee mentioned earlier on that he thought it was wrong to have the roles brought together, being Chairman of the FA and chairing the bid. With hindsight, do you think that is right?

Lord Triesman: Well, when it started, almost the first thing I did was to go to see Mr Blatter in Zurich, where we had an intriguing discussion. Just in order to explain the tone of it I ought to say that the first part of it for some time involved him interrogating me as to whether Andrew Jennings was one of my very close friends and whether we had been to university together. I think he was surprised to hear, because he had been briefed that that was the case, that we didn’t know each other at all. Indeed, we only came to know each other in the last year. I think that is probably pretty accurate. Anyway, he was deeply concerned about that and he pressed that point at some length.

But then, to come to your question more directly, he said that he believed that there were two things which were absolutely paramount in making any kind of bid, including any kind of successful bid. The first was that it would be completely clear that the Government of the day, and any possible successor Government, stood absolutely behind the bid, stood behind whatever the terms FIFA dictated ought to be included in the bid agreements, and that that should be at the very highest level-prime ministerial level. The second was that the domestic football association must be seen to be 100% behind the bid as well. Incidentally, because Russia was mentioned in this context earlier, it was a requirement put to Vitaly Mutko as well-exactly the same requirement. I asked him what he meant by that and he said, "You have got to chair this bid."

I will tell the Committee, I wasn’t over the moon-to use a footballing expression-at hearing that. My life was very full. The FA was very full. I am a member of one or two Chambers of this Parliament, I like to take a decent part in the life of this Parliament, and I had done a vast amount of travelling when I was Foreign Office Minister, as you do, and the idea of doing a vast amount more was not exactly what I wanted to hear. But it was certainly true that they wanted an arm’s-length company, and we created one, and I accepted what he said was a requirement of us and took that role, having had a really quite difficult discussion in the FA Board saying I was not at all keen on it and they said, "You know, those seem to be the rules of the game; buckle down and understand it."

Q80 Damian Collins: In light of that, was that the reason for having Sir Dave Richards involved as well as Chairman of the Premier League, and do you feel that his resignation damaged the bid?

Lord Triesman: I was very, very eager to have the Chairman of the Premier League-or if not the Chairman then Richard Scudamore from the Premier League-and Lord Mawhinney, then Chairman of the Football League. Because the whole of the arrangement that you would have to make would involve not only the use of some of the biggest grounds but, as we saw in our bid book, grounds that went down through the championship, and also a number of grounds that would be the home base and the practice grounds for all of the teams. These leagues had to be really fully behind it and to co-operate with it. It took a long time to get the Premier League on board. The point was made to me very early on that I could have them on board very quickly if I would concede that the 39th game was a great idea-then they would be on board immediately.

Q81 Damian Collins: That was seriously a negotiating point?

Lord Triesman: That was put to me directly.

Q82 Damian Collins: Who by?

Lord Triesman: By Richard Scudamore. My view of the 39th game is my view of the 39th game, I am afraid. If I was asked the same question today I would produce the same answer. But it was none the less really desirable, and Sir Dave did come on and he did take part in a good deal of the international travel, and I appreciate that and thank him for it. At the point at which he decided to resign I thought that it was shaking a rather shaky machine to too great an extent.

Q83 Damian Collins: Back to talking about Sir Dave for a moment, were you aware that the company of which he was a director, which his son ran, had been used by the World Cup bid team as a supplier for some of their events?

Lord Triesman: No, I have seen that in the newspapers and I am surprised to hear it.

Q84 Damian Collins: You were not aware of that then?

Lord Triesman: No.

Q85 Damian Collins: Did you have any rules in terms of managing potential conflict of interest for people who are members of the bid team who may have many different interests in their professional life? Were there any procedures for managing conflicts of interest like that?

Lord Triesman: What, among the members of the bid board?

Damian Collins: Yes.

Lord Triesman: There were no members of the bid board who had a direct involvement in FIFA other than Geoff Thompson, and I think that everybody will know that Geoff’s conduct is always pristine. That is my experience of it.

Q86 Damian Collins: No, I was talking more in the case of Sir Dave Richards, were there known procedures whereby if a commercial supplier was going to be used by the bid and one of the members of the board had an interest-in Sir Dave’s case he was a director of that company-that that should be disclosed. I only ask because when I put this question to Hugh Robertson when he gave evidence to us, he said that, for example, with LOCOG there are very clear rules that a director might leave the room before a decision is made to engage that company.

Lord Triesman: Where there were questions of potential conflicts of interest, people were expected to leave the room. I would have expected in the case of anything that was being purchased by the bid to have seen, above a certain value at least, competitive tendering, and I would have expected a declaration of interest by anybody whose business was supplying anything to us.

Q87 Damian Collins: Regardless of the value in that case?

Lord Triesman: Regardless of the value-anything that is in a commercial contract. That essentially was a ground rule that we had in the FA Board. Any member of the FA Board would know that was exactly how we conducted ourselves.

Q88 Damian Collins: So you were surprised to read these reports?

Lord Triesman: I was very surprised. I don’t even know what it was he supplied, incidentally-or sorry, what the company supplied.

Damian Collins: It was promotional material to support some of the events that were held to promote the bid. Thank you.

Q89 Dr Coffey: Lord Triesman, you heard the question I put to Mike Lee earlier, and I said I would ask you the same. I have not heard this particularly from the FA but from other people involved in football. There was a concern that one of the things that went wrong was announcing the bid too early. You have heard Mike Lee’s response. Gordon Brown was perhaps about to call an election, and it could have been a feelgood factor in the country with an England World Cup bid. Is it fair to say that Gordon Brown gave an ultimatum?

Lord Triesman: No, he didn’t give an ultimatum. What happened was that he announced it before the FA board considered it, and the FA Board then-

Q90 Dr Coffey: Is that a bit of an ultimatum?

Lord Triesman: If it was intended to be an ultimatum it nearly had exactly the opposite effect.

Q91 Dr Coffey: So why didn’t the FA say, "Actually, Prime Minister, we are holding our fire until we make our own decision"?

Lord Triesman: This happened before I arrived at the FA, but from what I understand took place, because I have of course tried to reconstruct the sequence and the narrative for myself, the announcement was made, and the FA, which was going to consider a paper at a board meeting-which it did shortly after I arrived; I think it may have even been my first board meeting-looked at it, and was concerned that it had not taken the initiative if it had been minded to do so, and that it had not happened that way round.

Q92 Dr Coffey: We heard some evidence from Roger Burden about why he withdrew his application to be Chairman of the FA, because he recognised one of the roles was to have that relationship with people in UEFA and FIFA and he felt that he couldn’t do that. Do you think the FA is likely to bid for the World Cup ever again? Would you do it?

Lord Triesman: I think it’s extremely unlikely that the opportunity will come round any time soon, not just because the next three are already decided-Brazil, Russia, Qatar-but if it is the case that opening up new territories is the critical factor, I could well imagine the logic of that argument taking people towards China or India or whatever, or maybe Australia, which did mount a bid. I don’t know for certain that that will happen, but we are probably talking then, if those are the general conditions that impact on the thinking of the FIFA Executive Committee, a very long time into the future. I fear I won’t be seeing those games. I am going to try, though.

Dr Coffey: Thank you.

Q93 Alan Keen: Do you think the strength of the Premier League-it is not just the poaching of players, and the economics of it, from other nations, but also the televising of Premier League games in other nations-damaged our bid? Do you think that causes resentment?

Lord Triesman: The response I found to the Premier League around the world came in two different ways. The first was that there was an enormous admiration for what had been achieved. Great, great competition, generating huge rights and a great deal of other commercial activity. I think that was admired. I know that on a number of visits that I made abroad with Sir Dave people would ask advice about, for example, how to construct television deals or what the basics of the competition might be that would be encouraging to broadcasters and I think he gave of his time very fulsomely when people asked those questions. So on that side lies admiration. I don’t think I am being indiscreet here, because I think a number of people overheard this conversation, but I had a conversation with President Lula when he came to receive an international award in London in which, alongside telling me how much he admired football here and how much he would wish to see us win the 2018 bid, he also said it would be desirable if we stopped, as the translator put it from the Portuguese, hoovering up all of their youngsters so that the most talented ones were never seen playing in Brazil. That was a view which I also heard around the place. Not everybody wants to see their 16-year-olds move around. Whatever the state of international employment law might be, whether there are any restraints on it or not, you can understand why people would like to see great local talent playing in great local competitions. So I think that a number of people did tend to respond to us as being successful but at some considerable cost to them.

Q94 Alan Keen: The economic reasons for the players coming to the Premier League and televising worldwide of the Premier games, that is justifiable to a certain extent on economic grounds. But you are absolutely right, something should be done about the poaching of young players. Do you agree that we have the same argument within this country between the Premier League and the rest of football, right down to grassroots? Is there not the responsibility also for helping the rest of the world develop its football, instead of all the money coming to the Premier League, because it is so good and is often praised as deserved by Richard Scudamore and Sir Dave Richards? Is one of the problems that we are faced with resentment that has built up because of the economic success of the Premier League?

Lord Triesman: The greater the economic success, of course, the more the powers gravitate towards whoever is successful in that way, and that means that they come to dictate. I do not mean in the sense of issuing diktats, but in the sense of the economic rationale that then follows. They come to dictate the sorts of salaries that are available, the size of squads on those kinds of salaries and so on. There is no question that there are people who feel that that disadvantages them quite considerably. It is also true that there is a great deal of outreach work done in the world by Premier League clubs. I have the great honour-and I do count it as a great honour-to be a patron of Tottenham Hotspur’s foundation. I have probably upset people. Anyway, there is a great deal of work done in Africa by that foundation and that is outreach from that club. Many clubs do it, but it is an uneasy balance.

Alan Keen: There is a self-interest involved in any development work done.

Lord Triesman: Yes, I guess the answer may be that, if you look at the proportion of the money that is earned going to those kinds of objectives, the greater the proportion, the less resentment there will be. The more people will feel it is crumbs off a very rich table, the more likely they are still to feel some resentment. I guess that is how people feel.

Q95 Alan Keen: You heard me ask Mike Lee-it was not that I wanted to do Mike out of his job that he does probably better than anyone else in the world, going by the results-does there need to be a bidding system, whether it is the IOC or FIFA? Should the world governing body not, through talking to other nations-not making them cover all they do not want to-make those decisions? Do you accept this-that the FA were really misled? If FIFA wanted to give the World Cup to Russia because it needed some encouragement, and Qatar was not one of the best-known football nations, and it is a way of encouraging developing football nations to develop their game, is there an argument for not having a bidding system at all? It does cost an awful lot of money and a lot of heartache.

Lord Triesman: I suppose it would be possible to devise other ways of awarding the World Cup. I think it is very important that the key criteria are set out by the world governing body. If it believes that the aim is to get football to other parts of the world, I think that is a perfectly reasonable criterion to express. It may very well be that there are other means then available for selection. The advantage, as I said earlier, is that you would not bid for things in which you have no chance. Why on earth would you bother? The one potential advantage of a voting system rather than any other kind of system is that it does and should engage a very much wider part of the worldwide football family in deciding what it wants.

Q96 Alan Keen: You would still have a voting system within the governing body, as happens now. It is just that you do not force nations to incur tremendous costs bidding against each other, when only one can win. Could I ask you, David, as well: you have mentioned where you felt that approaches were being made for bribes; did you also have the feeling, those aside, that it was FIFA itself that was-not asking for bribes necessarily, but making the decision irrespective of the quality of the bids? They had made their mind up in a way. Is that true? Are there two segments of that in the 24 voting body: one segment of individuals looking for bribes, but others being dictated to by FIFA for whatever reason that may be?

Lord Triesman: I am sure that FIFA, as an organisation, though its president, has very great influence and impact on some members of the Executive Committee. Whether all of them, I would not say, but it does have influence without any question. In a way, Alan, I think I can only answer the question and try to get to the heart of what you are saying by saying that I think a wider electorate would be better than this narrow electorate. I think that it would be harder to influence everybody in a wider electorate to the same extent. It would become impossible for bidding nations, should they seek to do things that were not proper, to do that to the same extent to 215 possible voters, for example, if it was the whole of the membership of FIFA.

At the end of it, my point about the end of it is about the beginning of it: whatever happens at the beginning, it would be very, very important if what was required was spec-ed out properly and set out for whoever then wanted to contest it. In a way, I guess it is like winning the contractual rights to do anything in a business or elsewhere. If what you are being asked for is fundamentally at odds with what you can possibly do-you cannot be a new territory in that sense-then tell us at the beginning and we will make the decision to not embroil ourselves in a way that is fruitless.

Q97 Ms Bagshawe: Just quickly, Lord Triesman, at the start of your evidence, you have identified, I think accurately, that there are two separate issues here: one is the deficiencies of England’s bid, and you have agreed with some of Mr Lee’s evidence on some of the ways it could have been improved; the second is the possible corruption of people on FIFA’s Executive Committee. In the earlier session, we explored some of the submission that was made by The Sunday Times. May I say, you are always good box office when you come in front of the Committee, Lord Triesman? You gave us some very shocking evidence of your direct experience as part of the World Cup bid. In your judgment, even if our bid had been better and had remedied some of those structural deficiencies, would it have been possible for England to have won its World Cup bid without offering bribes, benefits in kind, honours and other considerations to members of FIFA’s Executive Committee?

Lord Triesman: I do not know the answer to that question in a way that would allow me to say yes or no, but I certainly think it was a millstone.

Q98 Ms Bagshawe: My colleague Mr Farrelly asked jokingly in his question when the Légion d’Honneur might have been awarded to the executive member from Paraguay. I actually think that was a very salient question. Do you think that, given the evidence that we have had presented us today in both sessions, including your evidence, it is now absolutely a matter of pressing concern for FIFA to have an open investigation into these allegations of corruption, which are black and white?

Lord Triesman: I do think it is a pressing concern and I take the point that some of might have pressed it earlier. I understand that point as well, but I think it is a pressing concern. We have a number of very credible pieces of good investigative journalism: The Sunday Times, The Times in relation to Mr Warner, Panorama. But what I observe is that it is very, very unusual that any investigation gets off the first few steps. The first few steps did have an impact on FIFA Executive Committee members, but that is a very unusual event and there is nothing else that I understand is likely to happen.

I will present them with whatever evidence is useful, and I am more than willing to do that. I have no doubt that the first response will be that it never happened, and there will be a closing of ranks, but it must be right in any circumstances where there is so much at stake-huge amounts of money, large amounts of national prestige, a sport that is loved worldwide-to clear up anything that is dubious.

Q99 Ms Bagshawe: Just finally, in your answer to Dr Coffey earlier, you said that you had waited. There was a reason why you did not make these allegations during the bid. You did not want to blow up the World Cup bid-fair enough-and afterwards you wished to present this evidence before a Select Committee of Parliament before taking it further. You have now done that. Will you now, therefore, be presenting this evidence to FIFA and asking for an investigation?

Lord Triesman: I will make good all parts of my undertaking.

Ms Bagshawe: Thank you.

Q100 Damian Collins: I will focus in on something completely different, and a bit closer to home. As you are the last witness in the oral evidence sessions for our inquiry, I just wanted to have an opportunity to ask you a question in your capacity as a former chairman of the FA. It relates to the situation with Queens Park Rangers and the process that led to them being fined. Now, that investigation allows for about eight months, and we had a farcical situation where a club were about to be awarded the Championship trophy and might have had to give it back within hours or days depending on the arbitration of the FA’s investigation. Do you think the FA needs to have slicker processes in place to consider issues like this so they do not affect the overall competitions?

Lord Triesman: I do not know what was involved in the collection of evidence, so I say this a little tentatively, but I would like to address the principle of what you have asked. Both Ian Watmore and I believed that it must be possible to do the regulatory work more effectively, more rapidly and in a more transparent way right across the whole of the field of regulation, and this would certainly be included in that.

Damian Collins: Thank you.

Chair: I think that is all we have for you. Lord Triesman, thank you very much.