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French legend refuses to criticise disgraced ex-2018 bid leader

UEFA president Michel Platini has offered his support to disgraced former Football Association and England World Cup 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman.

Scandal erupted over the weekend when Triesman was captured by a newspaper accusing Spain and Russia of colluding to bribe referees at this summer's tournament. This forced the Lord to resign both his posts within the English game.

Speaking to Press Association Sport in Zurich for the International FA board meeting, Platini refused to slam his "friend".

"I have a good friendship with Lord Triesman and I want to help him in his bad moment, for him as a person," Platini commented.

"I want to support my friend in this big problem. I think it is a bad thing that happened to him."

FIFA's ethics committee are to investigate the corruption claims. Platini did admit, however, that the revelations could have hampered England's attempt to host the competition.

"Maybe yes, I think you need the people who vote on your side," Platini noted.

'But for the bid Geoff Thompson is a good guy, England is a great country and of course it can recover and survive this."

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner also echoed a similar sentiment, explaining that the FA had limited the damage by acting quickly.

"It's unfortunate but the English FA dealt with it appropriately and quickly and therefore I don't believe there'll be too much negative reaction from it," he said, according to the London Evening Standard.

In the meantime, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke maintained that the it is a blessing in disguise that the controversy erupted prior to the showpiece event in South Africa, and hoped that an investigation into the matter will render the "crazy allegations" baseless.

He said: "I want definitely to have something decided before the World Cup because some of the comments were about the World Cup. It has to be quick. We are looking at the content of the allegations because it was about the World Cup and the bids, and also on Lord Triesman and the way he made these statements.

"It's good that it's happening 20 days prior to the World Cup so it gives us time to make sure that all of this is wrong and that they are crazy allegations."

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