England's hopes of staging the 2018 World Cup suffered a potentially fatal blow on Sunday when the chairman of their bid, Lord Triesman, stood down after reports that he had said Spain and Russia would be trying to bribe referees at this summer's finals.
Triesman also resigned as chairman of the English Football Association (FA) after the article, in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, said he had suggested Spain would support Russia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup if they helped them this summer.
England's bid team have faxed letters of apology to both the Russian and Spanish Football Associations.
FIFA is to decide who hosts the 2018 World Cup in December.
The Mail on Sunday report says that they have a tape-recorded conversation in which they Triesman was talking to a former friend.
"I have decided to resign as chairman of the FA and the 2018 Bid board," Triesman said in a statement. "A private conversation with someone whom I thought to be a friend was taped without my knowledge and passed to a national newspaper.
"That same friend has also chosen to greatly exaggerate the extent of our friendship. In that conversation I commentated on speculation circulating about conspiracies around the world. Those comments were never intended to be taken seriously, as indeed is the case with many private conversations.
"The views expressed were not the views of the 2018 bid board or the FA.
"Nobody should be under any misapprehension that the FA or 2018 bid board are disrespectful of other nations or FIFA and I regret any such inference that may have been drawn from what has been reported.
"Entrapment, especially by a friend, is an unpleasant experience both for my family and me but it leaves me with no alternative but to resign. I have immediately informed the FA board of my decision."