Fifa chief denies need for change

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The Independent Football

Crisis? what crisis? Fifa's first reaction to last week's controversies has been to deny any need for reforming the process of selecting host nations for the World Cup finals, deny they have any further questions to answer over corruption and claim the reaction to the choice of Russia and Qatar as hosts for 2018 and 2022 has been "positive".

Yesterday Lord Triesman, who resigned as chairman of the FA in May, became the latest to call for an inquiry, hinting somewhat obliquely at requests for improper payments during the bidding. When asked whether he knew of any money being demanded from FA members during a contentious bidding process, he told Channel 4 News: "I think that a full account of it will draw out those facts. There would be facts that I would be prepared to tell an inquiry ... It would be as accurate and as full as I could make it."

But the governing body has no plans to hold an inquiry, or to change anything, according to Jerome Valcke, Fifa's general secretary.

He said yesterday: "There is criticism coming from England, which was very shocked at the number of votes they received. There were two or three [critical] words that were said in Germany.

"We just voted last Thursday. We have not sat down to discuss a reform of the voting system. It is not part of our discussions at the moment.

"Yes, it is a political decision... But overall, I think reactions were positive. The decision was fairly well received by football fans. It shows that football is open to the world."

Valcke also rejected calls for further investigations into corruption allegations. "The 22 members were in a room with a lawyer and an official. Each one got up to vote with a ballot paper which had a stamp from the lawyer. It is normal that the vote be secret," he said. "The matter is closed. We dealt very well with the two that were caught. The members were suspended. There is no need to be ashamed."

When questioned about the allegations on BBC's Panorama, Valcke claimed: "The stories that came out last week are stories that date back to 1997 [and] were judged by a Swiss tribunal. All this is reheated and should be part of the History Channel.

"I personally watched the BBC Panorama programme and so I missed the Real-Barcelona game, which I had to watch a recording of afterward. I would have been better off watching Real-Barça."