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Volume 606: debated on Tuesday 23 February 2016

Election of FIFA President

The petition to the House of Commons from a resident of the UK states:

The petition of a resident of the UK,

Shows that in August 2009, Sheikh Salman, then Bahrain Football Association (Bahrain FA) President, was accused of using FIFA-financed sports development budgets to fund his unsuccessful campaign for the FIFA Executive Committee election; and that in a leaked letter received by the Al Bilad newspaper it was claimed that Sheikh Salman had spent upwards of 855,000 dinars (£1.6 million GBP) on his campaign and that some of this money had come from FIFA-financed football development projects, in particular Goal 1 (intended to help fund a new Bahrain FA headquarters), and Goal 3 (intended to provide facilities for the development of youth and women’s football); that after FIFA requested urgent information from the Bahrain FA regarding the misappropriation of funds Sheikh Salman did not comment until early September 2009, at which point he denied those claims, however the Bahrain FA did not dispute the contents of the leaked documents; also notes that prior to Sheikh Salman’s election to the Presidency of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in May 2013, details of the flights that the Football Federation of Kyrgyz Republic’s (FFKR) delegation would be taking to and from Kuala Lumpur for the AFC vote were emailed to the private account of the ‘IT manager’ at the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), of which a close associate of Sheikh Salman was Head; that three days before the vote, requests for support for 53 projects for Kyrgyzstan football to the tune of millions of pounds were discussed although there seems to be no legitimate reason for the FFKR, part of FIFA, to be seeking funding from the OCA, part of the International Olympic Committee; notes that the FFKR approached the OCA again after the AFC election asking when they would receive payment for their projects, which gives strong grounds to suspect that the FFKR voted for Sheikh Salman because they believed they would receive significant financial support from the OCA (including that OCA officials appear to have met officials from the FFKR during the AFC vote in 2013); and believes that this is a fresh ‘cash for votes’ scandal which needs urgent investigation.

The petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons urges the Government to confirm that it would not support bids from the English Football Association to host FIFA tournaments should Sheikh Salman be elected as President of FIFA on Friday 26 February 2016.

And the petitioner remains, etc.