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Football: FIFA a "mafia family" says ex FA chief

Football's world governing body acts like a "mafia family" with head Sepp Blatter its "Don Corleone" according to a former chairman of England's Football Association.

LONDON: Football's world governing body acts like a "mafia family" with head Sepp Blatter its "Don Corleone" according to a former chairman of England's Football Association.

Lord David Triesman was speaking Wednesday after renewed criticism of FIFA, football's global authority, following reports in Britain's Sunday Times alleging millions of dollars in bribes were paid to help Qatar secure hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA's chief investigator Michael Garcia is due to submit a report into the conduct of the bidding process.

Blatter, a 78-year-old Swiss, has also come under fire for suggesting he might renege on his promise not to stand for a fifth term as FIFA president.

"FIFA, I'm afraid, behaves like a mafia family. It has a decades-long tradition of bribes, bungs and corruption," Triesman said on the eve of this year's World Cup finals in Brazil.

"About half of its executive committee who voted on the last World Cup have had to go.

"Even its past president Joao Havelange has been removed from his honorary life presidency in his 90s.

"Systematic corruption underpinned by non-existent investigations where most of the accused are exempt from the investigation make it impossible to proceed.

"Foreign construction workers dying in their dozens in Qatar stadium construction sites are essentially ignored."

He also backed current FA chairman Greg Dyke for saying it was "grotesque" of Blatter to suggest racism lay behind recent criticisms of Qatar's World Cup bid.

"Don Corleone, I believe, would have recognised the tactics and he probably would have admired them," said Triesman in a reference to the Mafia character played by Marlon Brando in the first two 'Godfather' movies.

Triesman, the initial chairman of England's failed bid to stage the 2018 World Cup, was speaking during a debate in the House of Lords, the British parliament's upper chamber, where his remarks are protected from legal action.

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