Skip to main content

Third FIFA 'whistle-blower' says 'bribes offered for World Cup votes'

By Don Riddell and James Masters, CNN
updated 11:24 AM EST, Fri December 5, 2014
Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, announced that a redacted version of the report into the alleged wrongdoing surroiunding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be published. Sepp Blatter, the president of world football's governing body FIFA, announced that a redacted version of the report into the alleged wrongdoing surroiunding the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be published.
HIDE CAPTION
Decision made
'Picasso gift'
Qatar and Russia cleared
2022 World Cup
2022 controversy continues
World Cup heat
Off message?
Workers' rights
Rage against machine
Back to the future
Island in the sun
Waiting game
Putin role highlighted
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New "whistle-blower" comes forward over World Cup 2018 and 2022 bidding process
  • Allegations made by former member of FIFA's ethics committee Les Murray
  • Australian says it was a mistake to award Qatar 2022 World Cup
  • Says Qatar is one of "the most morally corrupt regimes in the world"

Follow us at @WorldSportCNN and like us on Facebook

(CNN) -- It's the story which just refuses to go away -- and now a new FIFA "whistle-blower" has claimed bribes were offered in exchange for votes during the World Cup 2018 and 2022 bidding process.

A former member of FIFA's ethics committee, Les Murray, says a member of the world governing body's executive committee asked a member of the Australian bid team for the 2022 World Cup for a kickback in exchange for a vote.

"I know of one particular instance where one of the Australia bid team was asked for cash money by one of the executive committee members," Murray told CNN.

"I then reported that to the chairman of the investigative chamber of the executive committee, Michael Garcia, so even I have this evidence."

The bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments has been the subject of an independent FIFA investigation by American lawyer Garcia following allegations of corruption.

Was a Picasso offered as a kickback?
FIFA sponsorship troubles continue
Former adviser: FIFA 'a power unto itself'

Garcia's report led to two female "whistle-blowers" being identified, with Murray now the third individual to come forward and identify problems with the bidding process.

But the American lawyer's report has become mired in controversy after German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert -- FIFA's independent ethics adjudicator -- published a summary of the evidence the American had collated.

FIFA's hopes of drawing a line over the World Cup bidding saga almost immediately evaporated when Garcia said the 42-page summary contained "numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations."

Murray, who also works with Australian broadcaster SBS, went on: "I was on the FIFA ethics committee at the time. The FIFA ethics committee was not dealing with the bid process at that time.

"But once Michael Garcia began his investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, I reported this to Michael Garcia, as was my duty."

While Murray refused to name the person who is alleged to have asked for a financial incentive and whether they are a current FIFA executive committee member, he says he was not surprised by the incident.

"A very high level official, a trusted, reliable person who I know reported this to me. This person is a member of the Australian bid team," said the 69-year-old Murray, who is known as Australia's 'Mr. Football.

"Matters related to the 2018/2022 enquiry are solely handled by the investigatory chamber of the independent FIFA Ethics Committee and as such we are not in position to make any comments," said FIFA in a statement.

"But we have passed on your enquiry to the FIFA Ethics Committee accordingly."

In September Garcia said for the first time that his report should be made public with redactions, though FIFA has always maintained it should remain private over confidentiality issues.

"So that's an impasse that should be sorted," said Murray, who was a member of the Ethics Committee between 2003 and 2013, and as of July 2012 a member of the Investigatory Chamber, according to FIFA, before he left the organization just over a year aog.

"In my opinion it should be published, of course," added the Australian.

What next in FIFA's ethics scandal?
FIFA embroiled in controversy
Palios: Unsure FIFA knows what 'good' is

"If there is going to be transparency you cannot keep things from the public and FIFA has to publish these things in the end."

However Murray's intervention came as a surprise to one former member of the Australian bid team.

"The idea of Les Murray being a 'whistle-blower' is interesting, but not one that's weighed down by evidence," Bonita Mersiades, former head of corporate affairs for the bid team, told CNN.

"It's time to stop hiding behind this culture of silence and the quaint concept of confidentiality that pervades FIFA," she added.

"Les says he is 'perfectly free to talk about this', yet he is coy when asked who it is. Fans are entitled to know."

If Murray refused to name names surrounding the allegations of bribery, he was more forthcoming in his views on Qatar winning the right to host the 2022 World Cup.

The Gulf State has repeatedly denied allegations that it bought votes and was cleared of any wrongdoing in the 42-page summary released by Eckert.

"The only possible explanation for Qatar winning that World Cup bid, in my view, is because there was some funny business going on, and with that being the case and there being no other explanation, this story is not going to go away," said Murray.

Murray also believes that FIFA made a "big mistake" by allowing the World Cup to go to Qatar citing the nation's human rights records as one area of concern.

"I think FIFA made a big mistake in awarding Qatar the World Cup for many reasons," he said.

"Among them is that it's probably among the most morally corrupt regimes in the world, it treats its migrant workers like slaves, it has draconian medieval laws that are not in keeping with modern civilization.

"Its human rights record doesn't make the country fit to be a host of the World's greatest sporting event.

"I am hoping FIFA will be much more careful who it awards the World Cup hosting rights to, or at least it tries to compel a future host of the World Cup to clean up its act in the area of human rights before the tournament can actually take place in that country."

Last month, Qatar was back in the headlines after winning the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championship.

That decision was also met with criticism by human rights groups who are unhappy at the Gulf State's treatment of migrant workers.

In a statement, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs insisted the country is making progress and expects labor reforms to be implemented over the coming months.

"A new sponsorship law, currently under review, that will replace the outdated "kafala" system will be announced by next year," said the statement.

"Kafala" is an employment sponsorship system that regulates the relationship between employers and migrant workers in several Gulf states.

"We are also working on laws to cover domestic workers," the statement added.

"As in every country in the world, change does not happen overnight. Significant changes such as these take more time to implement that some may wish, but we intend to effect meaningful and lasting change for the benefit of all those who live and work in Qatar.

"Our plans are going through a legislative process and we expect to make announcements about new legislation by early next year."

READ MORE: World Cup bids corruption: 'Picasso painting offered as kickback'

WATCH: FIFA sponsorship troubles continue

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:23 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
updated 8:53 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
updated 9:48 AM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
updated 12:22 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
updated 2:19 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
updated 8:47 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
updated 6:34 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
updated 6:41 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Thu October 2, 2014
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
updated 9:28 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT