World Cup bidders will escape collusion charge

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The Independent Football

The contents of a note passed between two Fifa members has indicated that Spain/Portugal's and Qatar's World Cup bids look set to escape any action over allegations of collusion.

At the last Fifa executive committee meeting, Spanish member Angel Villar Llona passed a note to his colleague Mohamed Bin Hammam, from Qatar, which was seen by other members.

The existence of a note has been rumoured for some time and it can now be confirmed. It can be revealed that the note stated just four words: "Congratulations, vamos a ganar", which translates as, "We are going to win."

Chuck Blazer, the United States' Fifa executive committee member who saw the note, believes it relates to Villar Llona being confident of escaping sanctions from Fifa's ethics committee over allegations of collusion, banned under bidding rules, rather than that the countries were going to win their bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively.

Blazer said: "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 29 October in Zurich.

The revelations of the note have still infuriated rival bidders including England, who are up against Spain/Portugal, Russia and Netherlands/Belgium to host the 2018 World Cup.

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 to host the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Guatemala's Rafael Salguero, another of the 24-man Fifa executive committee who will vote on the World Cup hosts on 2 December, has said he is not sure he will support the US bid for 2022 despite representing the same confederation, Concacaf.

Salguero said: "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 US 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 vote. 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."

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