David Triesman resigned as Chairman of the England Football Association over the weekend after the Daily Mail paid a former subordinate a reported 75,000 GBP for a tape recording in which the the 66 year-old politician is heard accusing Spain and Russia of conspiring to bribe referees during this summer’s World Cup. Triesman, previously frontman for England’s bid to host the tournament in 2018, was undone by assistant Melissa Jacobs, 37, who claims to have slept with the former Labor Party General Secretary. Jacobs’ betrayal caused the Mirror’s Sue Carrol to ask,”for what purpose did she embark on this indecent back-stabbing ploy?…to earn a few measly quid. Miss Jacobs makes a King™s Cross slapper look like Mother Teresa,”, while the Independent’s Ian Herbert reports the F.A.’s damage controllers are waiting for further revelations to hit the papers.
Triesman is understood to have spoken at length to Jacobs about colleagues at the Football Association and at the top of the game in general and there are understood to be more anti-Russian comments from him, with suggestions of a Russian “mafia” at work at Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea.
There was more bad news for the FA last night as Fifa asked for the national body to provide for a report into Lord Triesman’s alleged comments. The FA had hoped it had drawn a line under the episode by moving so swiftly to remove Lord Triesman as both its own and the 2018 bid chairman on Sunday and to bring in Geoff Thompson to run the bid, a role he began yesterday with meetings with the bid chief executive, Andy, Anson and chief of staff, Simon Greenberg. But if Ms Jacobs decides to share more recordings, it is possible those remaining at the top level of the organisation may be tainted by their publication next Sunday, just 24 hours after Thompson’s bid team tries to salvage England’s reputation by meeting Fifa’s president, Sepp Blatter, at Saturday’s Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Internazionale in Madrid.
The prospect of further taped revelations raises the spectre of attacks on the FA and Premier League. Lord Triesman enjoyed a less than harmonious relationship with some of his fellow FA board members, including vice-chairman Sir Dave Richards, and his relationship with the Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore, had been a difficult one. Triesman’s opposition to Scudamore’s “Game 39” “ a plan for Premier League clubs to play an extra match abroad each season “ did not help. The peer also incurred Scudamore’s wrath in October 2008 when, hours before a keynote Scudamore speech at a Leaders in Business conference, he attacked the £3bn debt British clubs were carrying.