Time for Fifa to act on World Cup allegations
It tells you a lot about Fifa that it has taken a one-off hearing by a Parliamentary select committee to, at last, air some of the claims and allegations which have long swirled around the bidding contests to stage the 2018 World Cup finals.
Ask anyone involved with England's doomed bid privately about the conduct of the Fifa members they were trying to woo and you would hear similar claims to the ones which were made public in Parliament yesterday by the former bid leader Lord Triesman.
But back then it was not convenient to rock the boat. Instead it was us, the media, who came under attack for scuppering England's chances by airing claims of misconduct involving Fifa's 24 decision makers.
Even Triesman now accepts that he was wrong to have waited so long before speaking out about the 'bribes' he says he was asked for by four Fifa executives.
But in light of what we heard on Tuesday, is it not now time for a full inquiry - held in public at Westminster not behind closed doors at Wembley - into what really happened with England's 2018 bid?
If we are to treat Lord Triesman's claims seriously - and he was the chairman after all - then should we not we hear from other senior figures who were involved right up until the sorry end last December?
What of Andy Anson, the chief executive, who cried foul after England polled only two votes and said that his team had been lied to?
England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman with Fifa president Sepp Blatter in Zurich
What of David Dein, the bid's international president, whose job it was to fly around the world and try to persuade the executives that England was the right place to stage 2018? I recall being chastised by a furious Dein on the eve of the vote outside a lift in Zurich's Baur au Lac Hotel over the BBC's Panorama investigation.
What about Jane Bateman, the Football Association's head of international relations, and the only member of the team who was involved in England's 2006 World Cup bid? She knows most of the Fifa members better than anyone else at the FA.
And finally what of Simon Greenberg, the chief of staff, who co-ordinated the whole lobbying strategy?
Sadly Dein turned down the chance to tell the select committee his thoughts. The reason? He did not feel a public inquiry was the right forum for all this sort of thing.
And, apart from five minutes with the FA board immediately after the vote last December, Anson has not been asked by anyone to provide a proper debrief. This is astonishing.
Many inside the English game's governing body question what good an inquiry would do. Perhaps they fear raking over the past will not only show the bid's failings but also questionable 'deals' and bargains they discussed with members to try and get their vote.
Some sources at Wembley I have spoken to today are privately critical of Lord Triesman for bringing all this out in the open again. One told me that the story about Nicolas Leoz and his request for a knighthood was well known by senior bid figures but that it was seen as a bit of a joke.
It is certainly true in my mind that for all the noise generated by Lord Triesman the allegations involving two African members and Qatar's successful bid for 2022 are more significant. Today one of the men, Issa Hayatou, denied the claims, made by the Sunday Times newspaper, that he received money for voting for Qatar.
Fifa has also asked for the newspaper's evidence. But this is a bit strange as the letter published by the select committee yesterday suggests Fifa is already in possession of this material.
It is now clear that if world football's governing body is to stand any chance of restoring its tarnished reputation then it needs hard evidence and proof so that it can conduct a proper investigation into what really went on.
Today there was the first indication that we might get one. In a more pro-active move than we are used to, the Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke wrote to FA chairman David Bernstein asking for a file on the latest claims. The FA has already said it will do this but what is surprising, perhaps, is Fifa's claim to be extremely concerned by the latest revelations.
This could be taken either way but it does feel like the rhetoric from Fifa has hardened.