Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed that he was approached to rig the 2010 World Cup draw.
Eriksson was working for Notts County when, he alleged, representatives of North Korea made the unusual request during a visit to the Asian nation.
He was urged to give North Korea a favourable group in the tournament, which marked their first appearance at a World Cup finals since 1966 and ended swiftly with three defeats in as many games.
- 'I don't think it's sunk in that I'm a Liverpool player' - Reds star Missy Bo Kearns is living the dream
- Fantasy Premier League 2022-23: Tips, best players, rules, prizes & guide to FPL game
- Palmer, Kayky, Delap and the Man City wonderkids who could follow in Foden's footsteps
- 'Is football coming home?' Why England's Lionesses can win the UEFA Women's Euros
What was said?
“One day they came to me and said, ‘You have to please come to North Korea with us. It’s important.’ I said, ‘No, I don’t want to go to North Korea,'" Eriksson told the BBC.
“I knew a person working for the government in England. I asked that person, ‘Should I go to North Korea?’. She said, ‘Absolutely not, Sven, you should not go there.’”
“Russell [former Notts County associate and convicted fraudster Russell King] came back to me and said, ‘Sven, you have to come. It’s extremely important to the football club.’
"So I felt… should I really go? I didn’t want to go, but it was important for the football club, they said.”
Eriksson continued to describe how representatives of the nation's football team came to him with an outrageous proposition, which he of course dismissed out of hand.
“[The North Korea representatives] knew I was a member of the FIFA Football Committee. They said, ‘Can you please help us?’. ‘Of course I can help you, if I can’, I said. I thought they wanted balls or shoes or something like that," the Swede added.
“They said, ‘We want to have a simple draw’. They wanted to have help with the draw. Of course, I said, ‘Do you really mean what I [think]? I can’t do that. Nobody can do that. That’s absolutely impossible and it’s criminal, even to try.’
“But they never believed me. The amazing thing is that it looked like they don’t believe that I can’t do it – they believed that I just didn’t want to do it. Very strange. That was, I guess, the main reason why I was invited and why it was so important that I went there.”