Accused CONCACAF chief Webb gets support from Canada football fraternity

The head of Canada’s soccer association on Thursday denied he had bribed FIFA to win the rights to host the women’s World Cup and said a senior executive arrested on corruption charges had done a lot of good for the game.


Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani noted that Jeffrey Webb – the head of the North American, Central American and Caribbean confederation CONCACAF – had led a campaign to drive racism out of soccer. World soccer’s governing body is in turmoil after Webb and six other powerful figures were arrested on corruption charges last Wednesday.

Sepp Blatter unexpectedly announced on Tuesday that he was quitting as FIFA chief, just four days after he was re-elected to a fifth term of office, as an investigation of the organization by US law enforcement widened.

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Montagliani described Webb as ‘somebody who had worked very hard to rid racism out of the game’, ‘to change the governance structures’ and said that until the arrest it would have been difficult to believe the charges against him.

“With all due respect, you and your colleagues were saying the exact same thing. So you need to maybe look in the mirror a bit and maybe not put people on the pedestal so that you can whack the hell out of them after,” he told reporters. Montagliani said if the allegations against Webb were true, ‘there’s absolutely no room for that in the game’.

“Obviously if we’d all … known that previously, well, our feelings would have been quite different,” he said. Canada is also a member of CONCACAF and Montagliani said last year that Webb was an ‘inspiration’ for him.

Asked whether he had paid a ‘bribe’ to FIFA to obtain the tournament, Montagliani replied: “Absolutely not.” The women’s tournament starts in Canada on Saturday.