FIFA's bidding process for the World Cup is under scrutiny again after confirmation of a notorious note passed between two executive members.
The content of the note indicates that Spain/Portugal and Qatar's World Cup bids will escape any action from FIFA's ethics committee over allegations of collusion.
At the last FIFA executive committee meeting, Spanish member Angel Villar Llona passed the note to his colleague Mohamed Bin Hammam, from Qatar.
The existence of the note has been rumoured for some time and it can now be confirmed it stated just four words: "Congratulations, vamos a ganar" which translates as "We are going to win".
The remark could be taken as Villar Llona suggesting Spain were on course to win the 2018 World Cup race and Qatar the 2022 tournament.
Chuck Blazer, the USA's FIFA executive committee member who saw the note, believes however it related to Villar Llona being confident of escaping sanctions from FIFA's ethics committee over allegations of collusion, banned under bidding rules.
Blazer told Press Association Sport: "It is more likely the note referred to the subject that the previous conversation had been about.
"That discussion had been about the ethics committee and the fact that nobody had provided any hard evidence [of collusion]."
The note was passed by Villar Llona during the FIFA executive meeting on October 29 in Zurich.
Blazer said he was surprised by the behaviour.
He added: "I don't think it was the time or place. I think Mohamed was slightly embarrassed. It's the type of thing that shouldn't have happened but nothing more than that."
Spain/Portugal are bidding against England, Russia and Holland/Belgium for 2018.
The note was also seen by another FIFA executive member, Michel D'Hooghe from Belgium. Both men speak Spanish and it is understood Bin Hammam actually asked Blazer to translate the Spanish phrase - the word 'Congratulations' was in English.
Blazer and D'Hooghe both represent countries who are also bidding for the World Cups.
Meanwhile, Guatemala's Rafael Salguero, another of the 24-man FIFA executive committee who will vote on the World Cup hosts on December 2, has said he is not sure he will support the USA's bid for 2022 despite representing the same confederation, CONCACAF.
Salguero told Bloomberg: "I don't know what I'll do. The US is possible but I can't say anything at this moment. I'm waiting for the vote, the secret vote."
Apart from the USA and Qatar, Australia South Korea and Japan are also bidding for 2022.
FIFA's ethics committee will also rule next week on two of the 24 members, Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, who have been suspended following allegations in the Sunday Times that they wanted cash for their cash. They deny any wrongdoing.
Salguero refused to speak about that situation, saying: "I think there are many ugly things which I'd prefer not to comment on. I'm not involved in any of that."Reuse content