British media allegations of corruption within FIFA have been labelled racist and had wrecked England’s bid to host the World Cup, a FIFA executive has revealed.
Junji Ogura, president of Japan Football Association and a member of the FIFA executive committee which voted last week to choose the 2018 and 2022 hosts, said some of his fellow executives were “furious” at the reports.
“What I can say is that the reports definitely had an impact on the England bid. There’s no mistake about that,” Kyodo news agency quoted Ogura as saying.
The Sunday Times and the BBC reported on corruption involving FIFA, whose 22-member executive awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 edition to Qatar. Japan and England were among several countries whose bids were unsuccessful.
The Sunday Times report, based on a sting operation and published ahead of the vote, led FIFA to ban Nigeria’s Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti from the decision-making process.
The BBC also reported that three FIFA executive committee members took bribes in the 1990s from a FIFA-affiliated sports marketing firm.
Ogura said FIFA executives from Africa were “furious” at the reports. “The idea of suing the paper at the executive committee meeting was even brought up.
“The people being accused were from Africa and Oceania, not Europe or Asia, and some felt racism was behind it.”
England was eliminated in the first round of voting with support from just two of the 22 executive members.
Ogura said he couldn’t understand why England’s media would try to undermine its own country’s bid, according to Kyodo.
“Temarii, Adamu, they weren’t out for personal gain but for the benefit of their associations. I heard Temarii is going to appeal, which hopefully will shed the light on everything.
“I have a hard time understanding why a network as prestigious as the BBC would go with a story like that at that particular time,” Ogura said. “I can’t figure out why they would dig up a case that’s already been resolved in court.”