Indictment against FIFA Officials

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 10:28 am on 28th May 2015.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 10:28 am, 28th May 2015

I thank my hon. and learned Friend for bringing this matter to the House today. I share a lot of the concerns that he has expressed.

On the attitude of the English Football Association and the football associations of the other home nations, I will of course be in touch with them. I hope to speak to Greg Dyke later. I am very pleased that all four football associations from the home nations have taken the same approach in supporting UEFA in calling for a change of leadership and, now, for a postponement of the election that is due to take place tomorrow.

The allegations that are now coming out of the US Attorney General’s indictment have of course been around for a very long time. One of the striking things has been FIFA’s reluctance to carry out any proper, thorough, independent, transparent investigation of them. The Garcia report was not published in full and failed to address some of the most serious allegations. I hope that one of the consequences of these latest moves by the American authorities is that we will now have a proper investigation that will lead to the reforms all of us want. I very much welcome the moves already made by UEFA, and I hope that other football associations will now come behind it, but it is a matter for the English FA and the other associations, in the first instance, as to how they proceed tomorrow and in the days that follow.

My hon. and learned Friend is right that there have been calls in this House for the English authorities, particularly the Serious Fraud Office, to look into the allegations of corruption. We had a debate on that in the previous Parliament led by my hon. Friend Damian Collins, who has also done a tremendous amount in this area. I am sure that that will have been heard and that those allegations are being looked at.

Finally, my hon. and learned Friend asked that I come back and report to the House. As Mr Speaker will be aware, it is DCMS questions next Thursday, and I suspect that this matter may well come up on that occasion.