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FIFA execs asked for bid favours, says Triesman

FIFA execs asked for bid favours, says Triesman

Former
FA chairman David Triesman has accused FIFA executive committee members
Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi of asking
for favours in return for their votes for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Triesman was giving
evidence to a British parliamentary inquiry into the reasons why
England failed in its bid to secure the finals which were awarded to
Russia last December.

He said Warner, of
Trinidad and Tobago, asked for £2.5 million to be “channelled through
me” for a school while Paraguayan Leoz requested a knighthood.

Teixeira asked him
“What can you do for me?” and Thai Makudi wanted control of the
television rights for a proposed Thailand v England friendly.

“I will take my evidence to FIFA,” Triesman said.

‘Shocking accusation’

FIFA president Sepp
Blatter responded to Triesman’s comments. “I was shocked but one has to
see the evidence,” Batter told a news conference in Zurich.

“There is a new
round of information, give us time to digest that and start the
investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said.

“I repeat, we must
have the evidence and we will react immediately against all those in
breach of the ethics code rules.” Blatter said the executive committee
members were not elected by the same Congress as him.

“They are coming from the others (other confederations), so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils,” he said.

Meanwhile, further shock claims were highlighted by MPs at the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons.

Tory MP Damian
Collins said that evidence submitted by the Sunday Times, which the
committee will publish, claimed that FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou
from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast were paid $1.5m
(£917,000) by Qatar.

Collins said: “The
Sunday Times’ submission, and this is to be published by us later,
claims that $1.5million was paid to FIFA executive committee members
Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma who went on to vote for Qatar.” FIFA’s
ethics committee last year banned two other executive committee members
after a Sunday Times investigation into World Cup bidding.

Collins said the submission claimed Qatar specifically employed a fixer to arrange deals with African members for their votes.

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New Zealand ends Flying Eagles’ Suwon Cup dreams

New Zealand ends Flying Eagles’ Suwon Cup dreams

Nigeria’s
Under-20 team, the Flying Eagles, on Tuesday suffered a shock 4-3
defeat at the hands of the Junior All Whites of New Zealand at the
Suwon U-20 Cup.

It was the first
loss at the four-nation tournament for the Flying Eagles and ended
their hopes of claiming top prize at the tourney which came to a close
yesterday in South Korea.

John Obuh’s side
had earlier beaten hosts South Korea 1-0 in their opening match of the
tourney before pulling off a 2-2 draw with Uruguay over the weekend.

For their part, the
Junior All Whites began their quest at the Suwon Cup with a 1-0 loss to
Uruguay before succumbing by the same score line to South Korea, and
were expected to follow a similar path against the Flying Eagles in the
encounter played in the early hours of Tuesday, Nigerian time.

And the Junior All
Whites appeared to play along with the laid down script when Uche
Nwofor struck from 25 meters out to put the Flying Eagles ahead after
just 18 minutes on the clock.

But New Zealand
clawed their way back to level terms when Cameron Lindsay curled an
equaliser in from the edge of the box, just minutes after Dakota Lucas
failed to convert from close range.

The Flying Eagles
then had two opportunities to restore their lead before the end of the
first half but were denied, first by New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan
Marinovic and then by the offside flag.

But 15 minutes into
the second half, the Junior All Whites struck through captain Nick
Branch who volleyed a Marco Rojas free kick past the helpless Danjuma
Paul.

The lead was short lived as quick fire goals to Nigeria earned the Flying Eagles a 3-2 lead with 25 minutes left.

Delightful

But two goals
within the space of seven minutes, the second as a result of a poor
clearance by the Nigerian goalkeeper, saw the Junior All Whites
claiming their first win of the tournament which delighted their coach,
Chris Milicich.

“Today was very
pleasing for no other reason than we’re learning how to win,” said
Milicich. “We’ve had two really close results and in this one we’ve
come back twice to get the result.

He added: “This is
a team that beat Korea, drew with Uruguay and were trying to win the
tournament. They tried to beat us with everything they had. They are
African champions and we stood toe to toe with them and came out on the
right side of the ledger.”

The Suwon Cup
served as a preparatory tournament for all four teams who will later in
the year take part at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.

The Nigerian team is expected back in the country on Thursday and
will thereafter observe a two-week break before commencing preparations
for the World Cup where they will come up against Guatemala, Croatia
and Saudi Arabia in Group D.

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Liberia turns to God for semi-final ticket

Liberia turns to God for semi-final ticket

The
national team of Liberia in the on-going West Africa Football Union
(WAFU) yesterday embarked on intensive prayers as they managed to roam
into the semi-finals of the championship taking place in Abeokuta, Ogun
State Capital.

The players had
played two matches in the competition losing the opening encounter to
Super Eagles by 1 goal, while they (Liberia) in their second match at
the Moshood Abiola Stadium defeated their Togo counterpart by 2 goals
to one.

However, at their
training session yesterday the team on arriving the pitch embarked on
what could be described as firebrand prayers which lasted for about 30
minutes with passionate appeal to God, to see them through to finals of
the match scheduled for Saturday.

At the stadium,
players in company of their coaching crew converged on the half side of
the pitch, which was allocated to them for training, while the host
Super Eagles was training on the other half side.

Before embarking on
their training, they commenced intensive praise worship given thanks to
God for their victory over Togo, and further call on God to be with
them in their next encounter which is expected to take place between
them and winner from Group A match which is between Ghana and Togo.

Not stopping there, the Liberia Team in their prayer session also
passionately appealed to God, to take them to finals, and subsequent
winning of the trophy. However, their next match scheduled for Thursday
will determine their better chances in getting to the finals .

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Barcelona are favourites to win final, says Vidic

Barcelona are favourites to win final, says Vidic

Manchester
United captain Nemanja Vidic reckons Barcelona will start as favourites
to win the Champions League final at Wembley on May 28.

United lost to Barca in the 2009 final and are out for revenge on English turf.

“There will be no
surprises because they haven’t changed their style in years but they
will be a tough prospect and definitely the favourites in the final,”
the Serbia centre back told Belgarde’s B92 television website
(www.b92.net).

“Maybe we have a
little bit of an advantage in logistics because we are closer to the
venue, but we know that their fans will turn up in numbers just like
our own.”

Vidic, who scored
in Sunday’s 2-1 win over Chelsea which all but secured United the
Premier League title, said his side were still completely focused on a
record 19th domestic crown.

Blackburn before Barcelona

“We haven’t had
time to think about Barcelona yet because we have to concentrate on our
next game away to Blackburn and make mathematically sure that we’ve won
it,” he said.

“Only when we have
done that can we turn our attention to Barcelona, I’ve seen them
several times this season including their semi-final tie against Real
Madrid.”

United, who are six
points ahead of Chelsea with two matches left in the Premier League,
need only one point from their last two games against Blackburn and at
home to Blackpool to secure their 12th league title under manager Alex
Ferguson.

Vidic, who was
named captain this season, revealed anxiety had crept into United’s
dressing room after Chelsea were able to cut a 15-point deficit with
nine wins in 10 games prior to their visit to Old Trafford.

“The pressure was
immense after they whittled down our big advantage to just three points
before the showdown, but it makes the victory that much sweeter because
we are on the verge of winning the title after beating our closest
rivals,” he said.

“It means a lot to
me that I scored but the team comes first and the most important thing
is that we are now in a commanding position to cross the finish line
first.

“As the team’s captain I just try to do the same things I’ve always
done and be at my best all the time, because being the United captain
is a great honour and I know I have to repay the faith vested in me by
the club.”

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Real rally round Ronaldo in his quest for goals records

Real rally round Ronaldo in his quest for goals records

With the La Liga title effectively in Barcelona’s hands, Real
Madrid are doing their best to help Cristiano Ronaldo set new goal-scoring
records as their campaign draws to a close.

The Portugal forward bagged his second hat-trick in as many
matches in the 4-0 demolition of Getafe at the Bernabeu on Tuesday, making it
seven scored in the last four days and taking his league tally to 36.

He set a new club record of 49 goals scored in all competitions
for a season, passing the previous best of 47 set by Ferenc Puskas in 1959/60.

Ronaldo is also just two short of matching the league record of
38 achieved by Real’s Hugo Sanchez in the 1989/90 campaign, and Athletic
Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra in 1950/51.

“Our objective now is to help Cristiano to be league top
scorer,” Real striker Gonzalo Higuain told reporters.

Ronaldo moved five ahead of his great rival, Lionel Messi of Barcelona,
who has 31 league goals so far, but he is still three short of the World Player
of the Year’s season tally in all competitions of 52.

Real’s players were clearly looking to set up Ronaldo at every
opportunity against Getafe as the 26-year-old scored with a header and a goal
off each foot.

“We still have one objective, which is to ensure Ronaldo
finishes as league top scorer,” Real assistant coach Aitor Karanka said.

“It’s logical that some of his team mates look for him.

“The goals record is down to the unity of the team and the
enormous potential that he has. We don’t know where Cristiano’s limits are.”

Real and Ronaldo have two league matches left this season, away
to Villarreal and at home to Almeria.

Mourinho vs Valdano

Real coach Jose Mourinho was conspicuous by his absence in front
of the media again, as a new rift appeared in the strained relationship between
him and the club’s director general Jorge Valdano.

The Portuguese has not spoken in public since UEFA gave him a
five-match touchline ban in European competition last week for his sending off
and verbal outburst against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final first
leg.

“Mourinho decides when he wants to speak and when the
opportunity is right,” Argentine Valdano told Spanish television.

“There has been a lot of noise connected with him and it was
important he stepped to the side for the decibels that surround him to go
down.”

Mourinho’s spokesman countered soon afterwards:

“Valdano is the spokesman for Real but not for Mourinho,” Eladio
Parames told Spanish radio.

“When Valdano says Mourinho took a step to the side he is deluding himself.
Jose will make noise when he wants to and he will without ambiguity.”

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FIFA demands evidence from England

FIFA demands evidence from England

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, has called on the English
Football Association to provide a complete report on the statement David
Triesman made on Tuesday regarding claims of corruption within the 2018 and
2022 World Cup bidding process.

Triesman, a former chairman of the English FA, told a British
parliamentary inquiry on Tuesday that FIFA executive committee members Ricardo
Teixeira, Jack Warner, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi had asked for favours,
including money and a knighthood, to vote for England’s unsuccessful bid to
host the 2018 World Cup.

Cash-for-vote

According to Triesman, Warner allegedly requested for the sum of
£2.5 million to be channelled through to him to build a football education
academy in his homeland,

Trinidad, while Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz allegedly asked for a
knighthood in return for his vote.

Triesman also told the parliament’s department of culture, media
and sport committee that Brazilian FIFA representative Teixeira and Thailand’s
Makudi also asked for money in return for their votes.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has however written to the
FA requesting a complete report of the statements made and any other
documentary evidence.

“In his letter to the FA, the FIFA secretary general expresses
the extreme concern of FIFA and the FIFA president at the latest allegations
questioning the integrity of some FIFA executive committee members in
connection with the bidding procedure for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups,”
read a statement posted on the FIFA website.

“He adds that to be in a position to examine the situation
thoroughly and with clear-sightedness, FIFA asks the FA to submit a complete
report from Lord David Triesman, by means of which the latter would relate his
declarations fully and provide any and all documentary evidence at his
disposal.” Also on Tuesday, the committee was told by member of parliament
Damian Collins that there was evidence from the Sunday Times newspaper that
Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of Cote d’Ivoire were paid by
Qatar.

Hayatou, who’s the president of CAF, and Anouma, were separately
alleged to have been paid £912,200 to vote for Qatar’s successful 2022 bid.

The FIFA statement went on: “The secretary general has also sent
a letter to the Sunday Times to ask the newspaper to provide FIFA with any
piece of evidence with regard to the statements made to MP John Whittingdale.

“The Sunday Times had already provided world’s football
governing body with all of the evidence and documentation at its disposal.
Nevertheless, FIFA asks the English newspaper to submit as soon as possible any
other piece of evidence that it may be in possession of and which has not yet
been sent to FIFA.

“In particular, reference is made in the letter to the
allegations regarding a ‘whistleblower who had worked with the Qatar bid’, who
allegedly made some declarations regarding the matter in question.”

Qatari denial

Meanwhile, the Qatar 2022 World Cup bid team has denied
allegations it paid Hayatou and Anouma to vote for the tiny Gulf nation in last
December’s hosting decision.

“We categorically deny these allegations,” read a statement from
the Qatari bid team. “We have nothing to hide and are prepared to support and
cooperate with any further investigations and will be happy to counter any
allegations from whistleblowers with real evidence.” The statement added: “The
Qatar 2022 bid team ran an historic campaign that changed football. We were
beset by rumours and allegations from the outset.

“Bidding, like football, is a rough sport. Happily, our promise
of bringing football to new lands and expanding its legacies across the
developing world compelled FIFA.”

Hayatou not left out

Hayatou has also categorically denied allegations of corruption
brought against him before the British parliament.

“This kind of reporting to create and propagate false information to destroy
his reputation, leadership and integrity, will not succeed,” read a statement
on the CAF website. “The president of CAF said all these accusations brought
against him are pure invention and an attempt to discredit him. He is anxiously
waiting for the so called proof.” The statement added: “[Hayatou] is ready to
co operate with whosoever would like to investigate the accusations and
reserves the right to seek legal redress against those propagating this
campaign of denigration.”

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Eagles, Black Stars in semi final showdown

Eagles, Black Stars in semi final showdown

Super Eagles coach Samson Siasia remains unbeaten since taking
over the reins of leadership of the country’s national football team last
December and today the Beijing Olympic silver winning coach will lead his team
out against the Black Predators (Ghana U-23 team) in the WAFU Nations Cup
semi-final match at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta with victory already on
his mind.

“Our objective is to get to the final. It doesn’t matter if we
are playing Ghana,” the Nigeria coach said.

He added: “We are playing a match that we want to win, and who
we play against is not the issue.”

The Nigerian team, consisting of players plying their trade in
the domestic championship, is in the race to retain the regional trophy won
last year under the tutelage of former coach Daniel Amokachi, and also open the
account of silverwares for Siasia as Super Eagles coach.

Although the Nigeria team started their tournament campaign on a
shaky a note, beating Liberia’s Lone Stars by 1-0, they have since stepped up
their game as they were more convincing in their 4-0 drubbing of Niger in their
second match.

No easy progress

Though Siasia is not expecting an easy passage into Saturday’s
final, he is upbeat that his boys can continue their good run at the
tournament.

“We can’t come this far and relinquish our ambition to retain
this trophy. Now that we have got more time to train, I believe my team would
give their best against Ghana. It should be an interesting match,” said Siasia.

On his part, Ghana coach, David Duncan, has already predicted a
tough duel with Nigeria as both teams already have their sight on Saturday’s
final.

Ghana finished behind Togo in Group B. Togo shaded a rematch 4-3
on penalties after winning 2-1 in regulation time in this two-team group.

Ghana won the first game 2-1 and so the winners of Group B had
to be decided through a penalty shootout.

As a result, Togo will face Group B runners-up Liberia in the
other semi-final, also on Thursday.

“Against Nigeria, it could be anybody’s game. It will be a tough
encounter as it is a derby,” said Ghana coach Duncan.

“Playing against Nigeria would be a completely different game.
When you take the game against a brother like Nigeria, with the whole of the
country behind them and who are going to act as the 12th man on the pitch that
day, you won’t expect anything less.” Togo meet Liberia in the first semi-final
on Thursday at 2pm, while Nigeria and Ghana go head to head at 4pm.

The final and third-place match are to be played on Saturday.

Nigeria are the defending champions of the revamped annual sub-regional
tournament after they defeated Senegal 2-0 in last year’s final also at the MKO
Abiola Stadium.

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FIFA execs asked for bid favours, says Triesman

FIFA execs asked for bid favours, says Triesman

Former
FA chairman David Triesman has accused FIFA executive committee members
Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi of asking
for favours in return for their votes for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Triesman was giving
evidence to a British parliamentary inquiry into the reasons why
England failed in its bid to secure the finals which were awarded to
Russia last December.

He said Warner, of
Trinidad and Tobago, asked for £2.5 million to be “channelled through
me” for a school while Paraguayan Leoz requested a knighthood.

Teixeira asked him
“What can you do for me?” and Thai Makudi wanted control of the
television rights for a proposed Thailand v England friendly.

“I will take my evidence to FIFA,” Triesman said.

‘Shocking accusation’

FIFA president Sepp
Blatter responded to Triesman’s comments. “I was shocked but one has to
see the evidence,” Batter told a news conference in Zurich.

“There is a new
round of information, give us time to digest that and start the
investigation by asking for evidence on what has been said.

“I repeat, we must
have the evidence and we will react immediately against all those in
breach of the ethics code rules.” Blatter said the executive committee
members were not elected by the same Congress as him.

“They are coming from the others (other confederations), so I cannot say that they are all angels or all devils,” he said.

Meanwhile, further shock claims were highlighted by MPs at the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons.

Tory MP Damian
Collins said that evidence submitted by the Sunday Times, which the
committee will publish, claimed that FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou
from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast were paid $1.5m
(£917,000) by Qatar.

Collins said: “The
Sunday Times’ submission, and this is to be published by us later,
claims that $1.5million was paid to FIFA executive committee members
Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma who went on to vote for Qatar.” FIFA’s
ethics committee last year banned two other executive committee members
after a Sunday Times investigation into World Cup bidding.

Collins said the submission claimed Qatar specifically employed a fixer to arrange deals with African members for their votes.

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New Zealand ends Flying Eagles’ Suwon Cup dreams

New Zealand ends Flying Eagles’ Suwon Cup dreams

Nigeria’s
Under-20 team, the Flying Eagles, on Tuesday suffered a shock 4-3
defeat at the hands of the Junior All Whites of New Zealand at the
Suwon U-20 Cup.

It was the first
loss at the four-nation tournament for the Flying Eagles and ended
their hopes of claiming top prize at the tourney which came to a close
yesterday in South Korea.

John Obuh’s side
had earlier beaten hosts South Korea 1-0 in their opening match of the
tourney before pulling off a 2-2 draw with Uruguay over the weekend.

For their part, the
Junior All Whites began their quest at the Suwon Cup with a 1-0 loss to
Uruguay before succumbing by the same score line to South Korea, and
were expected to follow a similar path against the Flying Eagles in the
encounter played in the early hours of Tuesday, Nigerian time.

And the Junior All
Whites appeared to play along with the laid down script when Uche
Nwofor struck from 25 meters out to put the Flying Eagles ahead after
just 18 minutes on the clock.

But New Zealand
clawed their way back to level terms when Cameron Lindsay curled an
equaliser in from the edge of the box, just minutes after Dakota Lucas
failed to convert from close range.

The Flying Eagles
then had two opportunities to restore their lead before the end of the
first half but were denied, first by New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan
Marinovic and then by the offside flag.

But 15 minutes into
the second half, the Junior All Whites struck through captain Nick
Branch who volleyed a Marco Rojas free kick past the helpless Danjuma
Paul.

The lead was short lived as quick fire goals to Nigeria earned the Flying Eagles a 3-2 lead with 25 minutes left.

Delightful

But two goals
within the space of seven minutes, the second as a result of a poor
clearance by the Nigerian goalkeeper, saw the Junior All Whites
claiming their first win of the tournament which delighted their coach,
Chris Milicich.

“Today was very
pleasing for no other reason than we’re learning how to win,” said
Milicich. “We’ve had two really close results and in this one we’ve
come back twice to get the result.

He added: “This is
a team that beat Korea, drew with Uruguay and were trying to win the
tournament. They tried to beat us with everything they had. They are
African champions and we stood toe to toe with them and came out on the
right side of the ledger.”

The Suwon Cup
served as a preparatory tournament for all four teams who will later in
the year take part at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia.

The Nigerian team is expected back in the country on Thursday and
will thereafter observe a two-week break before commencing preparations
for the World Cup where they will come up against Guatemala, Croatia
and Saudi Arabia in Group D.

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Liberia turns to God for semi-final ticket

Liberia turns to God for semi-final ticket

The
national team of Liberia in the on-going West Africa Football Union
(WAFU) yesterday embarked on intensive prayers as they managed to roam
into the semi-finals of the championship taking place in Abeokuta, Ogun
State Capital.

The players had
played two matches in the competition losing the opening encounter to
Super Eagles by 1 goal, while they (Liberia) in their second match at
the Moshood Abiola Stadium defeated their Togo counterpart by 2 goals
to one.

However, at their
training session yesterday the team on arriving the pitch embarked on
what could be described as firebrand prayers which lasted for about 30
minutes with passionate appeal to God, to see them through to finals of
the match scheduled for Saturday.

At the stadium,
players in company of their coaching crew converged on the half side of
the pitch, which was allocated to them for training, while the host
Super Eagles was training on the other half side.

Before embarking on
their training, they commenced intensive praise worship given thanks to
God for their victory over Togo, and further call on God to be with
them in their next encounter which is expected to take place between
them and winner from Group A match which is between Ghana and Togo.

Not stopping there, the Liberia Team in their prayer session also
passionately appealed to God, to take them to finals, and subsequent
winning of the trophy. However, their next match scheduled for Thursday
will determine their better chances in getting to the finals .

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