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Scotsman McBeth pays price for FIFA remarks
by Paul Kennedy, May 31st, 2007 7AM



Sepp Blatter's re-election to a third term as president of FIFA on Thursday was overshadowed by remarks by Scotsman John McBeth critical of corruption within FIFA countries that resulted in his being replaced by Geoff Thompson, chairman of the English FA, as Britain's vice-president on FIFA's executive committee.

McBeth won his place in a vote of the four British associations earlier this year, but remarks about African and Caribbean nations to Scottish reporters last week sparked a swift reaction within FIFA.

Scotland on Sunday quoted McBeth as saying of Blatter: "He's a tricky customer but I suppose anyone in that position has to be because you are dealing with people who, to put it mildly, have a totally different code of ethics."

McBeth added: "By and large, the four British countries know what fair play is and we know when we're stepping out of line ... but as soon as you hit Africa it's a slightly different kettle of fish. They're poor nations and they want to grab what they can. I presume the Caribbean is much the same."

Two men on the FIFA executive committee were accused of ticket scalping at the 2006 World Cup: Ismail Bhamjee, the Botswana representative, and CONCACAF president Jack Warner from Trinidad & Tobago.

Bhamjee is no longer on the executive committee. Warner and his son, Daryan, were accused of the massive resale of tickets at Germany 2006. Though FIFA's disciplinary committee cleared Jack Warner, Daryan, who ran the Simpaul travel agency, was ordered to pay FIFA $1 million -- the estimated profit on the deals -- for SOS Children's Villages. Jack Warner had previously been accused of conflict of interest in a number of activities.

McBeth, the successor to countryman David Will on the FIFA executive committee, was told he was not welcome at the FIFA Congress in Zurich and his remarks will be investigated by FIFA's Ethics Committee under chairman Sebastian Coe, the former track star.

Jack Warner, meanwhile, suggested that it was time to rethink Britain's automatic place on the FIFA executive committee.

"It's an anachronism," he said. "They [the four British federations] play in Europe, they must be integrated into Europe."

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