Belfast Telegraph

Reporter drives ex-Fifa deputy Jim Boyce to fury - threatens to sue over question about football corruption

By Sara Neill

Former Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce says he has been left hurt and angry by false accusations he accepted cash for his vote.

The Belfast-born football chief was caught up in the row over claims that corruption was rife throughout the sport's governing body.

An exchange between Mr Boyce and a German reporter took place last Thursday, as the local man and his wife left a Fifa dinner in Zurich.

It was captured on video as the journalist asked Mr Boyce if he had ever been part of an alleged bribery ring.

The 71-year-old, clearly upset by the question, replied: "Don't you dare!"

Pointing angrily at the reporter, Mr Boyce also asked his name, before walking up to the man, who claimed to be Felix from a German television channel.

Mr Boyce said: "Well I'm very glad that you've given me your name because I can assure you there will be a legal action.

"I've never in my life received a penny piece that I've never been entitled to, and I will never forget what you've asked me tonight."

As Mr Boyce walked away, another journalist asked if Sepp Blatter should resign.

But the former top man of the IFA gestured to the German reporter and replied: "I will answer that question whenever I see that chap in court."

The exchange came as US prosecutors launched a criminal inquiry after seven Fifa officials were detained in Switzerland.

Hours after the arrests, an investigation began into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.

Despite calls for his resignation, Blatter opted to stand once again for the Fifa presidency, but days after he was re-elected the 79-year-old revealed he will step down - but only once a successor is appointed.

Mr Boyce feels the scandal has been a blow to the footballing body that has tarred everyone with the same brush.

He said he was stunned by the false allegation.

"It's another example of how the word Fifa now gives the perception that everyone was in some way corrupt. I was totally incensed," he said.

"I was very honoured to serve as vice-president for those four years. I hope I represented my country, and the IFA, to the best of my ability.

"But this is disgusting. I know many good people in Fifa who are only interested in working for the good of the game. What annoys me is that sometimes the name Fifa is mentioned, everyone is tarred with the same brush."

The well-respected sports official said he is considering taking the matter further.

He said: "I would like to think that I have a very good reputation in Northern Ireland.

"I have always tried to get people from both sides to work together, and wherever I go, I'm treated with respect.

"That's something I'm very proud of.

"Those questions caused me a lot of pain. I'm only a human being, and you wouldn't be human if you were not in some way distressed by that."

And Mr Boyce added: "If anyone is found to be guilty of dishonesty or corruption, then I believe they should be dealt with in the strongest possible manner."

Further Reading

Jack Warner: I fear for my life

Fifa crisis won't obstruct Qatar's World Cup plans

Chuck Blazer: We took bribes to award two World Cups

Change at top was inevitable: O'Neill

Game can now move in right direction, says David Beckham

Northern Ireland were let down by Sepp, says Kennedy  

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