FIFA wants 'bribery' probe report before World Cup

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA will investigate claims by a senior English official that Spain tried to bribe World Cup referees, and wants the probe finished before the tournament begins.

FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said Tuesday he wanted "something definitive" before the June 11 kickoff.

Valcke described former English Football Association head David Triesman's comments as "crazy allegations."

However, Valcke confirmed FIFA's Ethics Committee will examine Triesman's claims, as well as the possibility he broke World Cup bidding rules by criticizing rival candidates.

Triesman quit Sunday after a British newspaper printed details of a recorded conversation in which he suggested Russia could help Spain bribe World Cup referees in return for support for its own bid.

"Now we are waiting for statements," Valcke said. "The Ethics Committee will decide which persons they want to hear."

He suggested that the report could be completed in a few days.

"We will do it as soon as we can and not waste any time," Valcke said.

Triesman was supported Tuesday by Michel Platini, president of European governing body UEFA and a member of FIFA's executive committee that will pick the winning bids.

"I have a good friendship with Triesman and I want to help him in his bad moment," Platini told Britain's Press Association agency.

Speaking after a meeting of FIFA's soccer rules-making panel, he said the England bid campaign was damaged but not finished.

"England is a great country and, of course, it can recover and survive this," Platini said.

Europe is favored to be awarded the 2018 finals, with England and Russia competing against joint proposals from Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium.

Australia and the United States are also in both races. Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding only for 2022.

FIFA's 24-member executive committee will choose the two hosts at a Dec. 2 meeting in Zurich.