Britain's sports minister discussed FIFA breakaway

Britain's sports minister discussed FIFA breakaway

Published May. 11, 2011 4:24 p.m. ET

Britain's sports minister discussed breaking away from FIFA with officials from other countries because of corruption within football's world governing body following the fallout from England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.

Hugh Robertson's talks with the undisclosed nations started after England captured only two votes in the December poll. The contest was overshadowed by two members of FIFA's executive committee being suspended beforehand after an investigation.

New corruption allegations surfaced at a British parliamentary inquiry into football on Tuesday, when six FIFA executive committee officials were accused of receiving or demanding bribes during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

''I have taken the temperature from other football associations around the world (about breaking away from FIFA), particularly we did that in the wake of the 2018 bid,'' Robertson told the BBC. ''At the moment there is a desire to try to work to change FIFA from the inside. If FIFA is unable to do that, then I would say all options are possible.


''But at the moment we very much want to work with them and try to convince them they need to go through exactly the same process that the IOC went through in the post-Salt Lake city process.''

The International Olympic Committee adopted strict rules following the 1999 bidding scandal that led to 10 of its members resigning or being expelled.

Among the new claims, Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were accused of receiving $1.5 million to vote for Qatar in a submission to the British inquiry by The Sunday Times.

It was the newspaper's investigation that led to Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti being suspended by FIFA before the December vote.

British legislator Damian Collins, who first raised the allegations in the inquiry, said the 2022 bidding process could be reopened if the claims against Hayatou and Anouma are proven.

''FIFA have got to investigate fully - FIFA needs to be at the vanguard of investigation and reform,'' Collins told The Associated Press. ''If the allegations against Qatar do end up being proven, I think FIFA should reopen the 2022 World Cup bidding process.

''It's still 11 years away, the Qataris haven't even finalized the technology for cooling their stadiums. They are still at the early stages.''