Spain not taking Triesman allegations seriously

MADRID - Spain had not taken seriously allegations of a Russian-Spanish matchfixing plot at the World Cup, said secretary of state for sport Jaime Lissavetzky.

"I read about it and I simply had to smile," Lissavetzky told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

"How could anyone in their right mind think that Spain, a democratic country, could do such things?" he added. "We didn't attach much importance to it."

Lissavetzky was reacting to allegations made by David Triesman, former chairman of the English Football Association and head of England's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Triesman quit this week after the secretly recorded comments were made public in Britain's Mail on Sunday newspaper.

He was quoted as saying rival bidders Spain and Russia were conspiring to bribe referees at next month's World Cup in South Africa and FIFA have said they are working with Interpol to see if there was any substance to the allegations.

"Everyone has the right to make a mistake," Lissavetzky, who is half Ukrainian, told Reuters.

"I know that he (Triesman) sent a letter to the Spanish and Portuguese federations apologising," he added. "Nothing more needs to be said."

Spain and Portugal have applied jointly for the right to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 and Lissavetzky said in the wake of the Triesman allegations it was important to ensure there was "fair play" in the bidding process.

"The only thing I would ask is for fair play," he said. "We, of course, show respect to the other bids. We have always played fair here in Spain."

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