Loose Lips Sink Bids

England’s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup finals has taken a knock after Football Association chairman Lord David Triesman was recorded alleging that Spanish and Russian soccer bosses were plotting to bribe referees at this year’s competition.

In what appears to have been a sting set up by the Daily Mail, Lord Triesman told a former aide that the Russians may bribe the refs to favour Spain in return for the Spanish supporting the Russians’ 2018 bid.

When the story broke, Lord Triesman – a Labour peer in the House Of Lords – stepped down, while FIFA’s ethics committee has begun an investigation into the incident.

Trieseman’s claims were met with incredulity by the Spanish soccer authorities, while their Russian counterparts suggested it was an effort to derail their 2018 bid.

In a similar incident, Liam Byrne – the outgoing Labour minister in charge of public spending – left a handwritten note for his Liberal Democrat successor.

It said: “Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards and good luck.”

Byrne later said the note was only intended as a joke, but a subsequent run on sterling suggested that at least some investors took it seriously.