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Time for Fifa to ask difficult questions

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Gordon Farquhar | 12:04 UK time, Sunday, 17 October 2010

It is less than two months before Fifa executive committee members will vote in a secret ballot to decide who has won the right to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

But Fifa now finds itself investigating claims of alleged World Cup vote corruption, after Sunday Times journalists filmed two members seemingly prepared to accept money for projects in return for their vote.

We don't know yet how big a story or scandal this will become but it has pricked my memory over what happened more than a decade ago at the International Olympic Committee.

Then, I was on my way back to Geneva airport when the mobile rang. I was driving and I had a television crew with me who'd grabbed a lift.

We were pushed for time, aiming for the last flight home after a routine International Olympic Committee executive board meeting.

It was a colleague from the BBC's World Service who'd decided to stay another day in Switzerland. He was slightly troubled and said to me: "It's probably nothing, but Hodler's said something. Might have to file."

We had a quick discussion in the car, and decided to press on home. "H" was across it, it'd be fine, we could pick it up in the morning if there was much in it.

Had we fully understood the implications at that point, we'd have handbrake-turned and smoked the tyres all the way back to Lausanne.

In his own unassuming way, Marc Hodler, octogenarian IOC member and champion of integrity had just pulled the trigger on one of the biggest recent scandals in world sport.

He'd suggested all was not as it should have been in the bid process for the 2002 Winter Games won by Salt Lake City.

The consequences of Hodler's whistle blowing shook the IOC to its core.

It seemed the Olympian values of fair play, honest competition, respect and brotherhood had little place in the conduct of some of its members, who'd been royally enjoying the hospitality of the cities bidding to stage the games.

Four investigations followed, including one by the US Department of Justice. lurid tales emerged of members securing university scholarships and plastic surgery for family members, all-expense paid ski trips, visits to the Superbowl.

It was a gravy train, and some were drinking deep. For the first time in its history, the IOC expelled members - 10 of them - and 10 others were sanctioned.

The ethics commission established by the IOC drew up rigid new rules, new codes of conduct. Visits to bidding cities were abolished, woe betide anyone caught accepting a favour with the implication this would be returned come vote time.

Well, now it's Fifa's turn to face itself and ask difficult questions about the probity of some of its members, past and present.

As things stand, the claims made by the Sunday Times demand a proper investigation.

Amos Adamu is one Fifa member named by the Sunday Times

Amos Adamu is one of the Fifa executive members named in the Sunday Times investigation. Photo: Getty

Belatedly, given the experience and traumas the IOC went through, Fifa created an ethics committee.

Clear rules were established about the responsibilities of those bidding, and those charged with making a decision about who should host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

For the record, there are four bids for the 2018 World Cup - England, Russia, Holland/Beligium and Spain/Portugal.

Yes, those 24 committee members do have a choice to make.

Their decision should be based on the technical merits of the bids, the case put forward by each country. The geo-political big picture or personal conviction, regional loyalty or any other cause will also come in to play. But it should never ever be for personal gain.

The Fifa slogan, "For the Good of the Game" cannot be followed by, "and whatever's in it for me."

All of this needed saying. That it was a UK newspaper that's gone to print with a story with serious allegations shouldn't matter.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter has to shut his ears to the likely complaints around his organisation that it's just the British media making trouble again.

Any spirited journalist could've asked those questions from any country, and the answers would've been the same.

Fifa has to act decisively now. Blatter has to show leadership. Juan Antonio Samaranch, the IOC president in 1999 hesitated, and for the IOC, all was almost lost.

Football is facing its Salt Lake City moment. The IOC recovered and is now in a better place. Where will football be in 10 years' time?


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  • Comment number 1.

    Dont really think this is a story when you bear in mind the frequent suggestions that Blatter and Co regularly grease these guys palms to secure their vote for the top jobs. If its good for the goose ...... how else did the world cup end up in south africa? Blatter was in hock to all the africans for their nomination votes

  • Comment number 2.

    Given blatter knows where all the "bodies" are I don't have any faith in fifa doing anything but investigate and then report after the bid process is over and at best given the exe members a fine and slap on the wrist.

  • Comment number 3.

    Anyone genuinely interested in how things have been run in FIFA should read the book "Foul", written by Andrew Jennings. The only surprising thing is that this is the first time there has been a newspaper sting involving FIFA.

  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    I hope I don't get flagged for product promotion - but Andrew Jennings has been saying this since at least 2006. Difficult to decide what is more tragic: that bribery happens in FIFA dealings, or that there are people who seem to genuinely believe that it doesn't.
    FIFA has lots of skeletons in its cupboards, and this is likely the least of them - a newspaper in Australia recently ran an expose of "grants" paid out by that country's bid committee to FIFA voting members' home associations, and one doesn't really have to look hard to see questionable issues with this and similar transactions. This, am afraid, is simply business as usual for FIFA.

  • Comment number 6.

    Sunday Times competing with News of the World an d the Sun?

  • Comment number 7.

    As a moderately wealthy country with quality universities and plastic surgeons et al this should be good news for England's bid. As long as we've not been too tight fisted to grease the wheels appropriately.

  • Comment number 8.

    I know the two matters should not be conected, but I can't help but wonder whether or not The Sunday Times has just ensured that England will not be selected to host the 2018 World Cup

  • Comment number 9.

    Why is anybody surprised? The main thing different from the normal "run of the mill" corruption in "some countries" is that the money is being demanded to help build training facilities etc. I wonder if the delegates concerned have relatives in the construction industry.

    Sadly No. 8 your thoughts may be right. Hell hath no fury like Sepp Blatter embarrased.

    Now where's that nice Mr Warner of Trinidad when you need him?

  • Comment number 10.

    "That it was a UK newspaper that's gone to print with a story with serious allegations shouldn't matter."

    This is the first article in which I've seen this point made. Very well put Mr Farquhar. Unfortunately, the key word there is "shouldn't".

  • Comment number 11.

    If anyone thinks Triesman was shopped by a fellow tribalist they got it all wrong. The long arm (and money) of the Russian Mafia was at play. We have our own nigerians right here in the UK. They originally came from eastern europe !!

  • Comment number 12.

    Isn't bargaining and bartering exactly how people work in business, companies and politics etc. If you want a job or a favour you often give them a little sweetener in return. This could be true, FIFA are hardly angels, but it may just be the media getting on their high horse.

    I think if anything the persistence of the English media in hounding FIFA is going to lead to resentment against us or they will wonder what kind of coverage and stories may be published if they were to give England the finals.

  • Comment number 13.

    This is the death knell for England's bid.

  • Comment number 14.

    FIFA lacks transparency regarding it`s finances among other things since the reign of Havelange and nothing has changed under Blatter`s leadership. Not to forget how Blatter managed to obtain enough votes overnight back in 1998 to beat his opponent Johansson.

    Just more dirty play and hardly surprising given FIFA`s recent history.

  • Comment number 15.

    Sunday Times just blown England's chances...

    Once FIFA do their standard sham investigation, does anyone really think England won't be penalised for the English media upsetting the happy FIFA status quo. We just don't know how to play the game in any sense of the expression do we?

  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Why am I not surprised?

  • Comment number 18.

    "For the Good of the Game"

    Thierry Henry's handball
    Frank Lampard (and others) "goals"
    Big business destroying football clubs

    Just some of the issues in the last 2 years that FIFA as the World leaders of the game dont want to confront head on

    Add to the list

    You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours

    Dont hold your breathe

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    I doubt Sepp Blatter will even bother reviewing these allegations - he has never been a supporter of video technology - why would he change his opinion now

  • Comment number 23.

    Are the four bids broadly comparable in quality?

    If so, bung them in a hat and pull one out, and get rid of the ridiculous and distasteful bid process once and for all.

  • Comment number 24.

    The Mafifa are at it again.

  • Comment number 25.

    Your comments are welcome Gordon but I am afraid its too little too late and like the IOC scandal you might just be missing the story here as well.
    The so called 'world' game has been lagging behind the world for some years now.
    As a Football lover I fought my way through the over complicated FIFA web site lottery system to get tickets and I travelled to the FIFA 2010 World Cup with a great sense of anticipation.
    I have two abiding memories of the tournament.
    1/ What a great job the South Africans did to host the event. I went to four stadiums and the organisation and atmosphere was fantastic at all of them.No trouble at the grounds and Vuvuzelas were a lot better live than when watched on TV !
    2/ What a terrible job FIFA did in supporting the hosts and promoting the game.The overall quality of football was poor - few classic games and too many diving players and negative tactics.The final was a case in point - lucky for FIFA that in the end the best team won - a Dutch victory would have certainly highlighted this point.
    Heres a few questions that need answering about the tournament ;
    - Why did we play with a completely new ball ? If you are going to get the best teams in the world together for a football festival aside from moving the size of the goalposts or pitch markings I cant think of anything more fundamental than using a football that is known to everyone.
    - How did we improve fairness and refereeing at the tournament ? Heres where FIFAs luck ran out.I was level with the goal line in Bloemfontain when Lampard 'scored'and watching pretty intently. I couldn,t have told you in that moment whether the ball was in or not so why are we expecting a linesman not up with play and a referee 20 metres away to be able to tell ? There were other bad calls made by officials in the tournament so how much longer do we have to wait while FIFA get the required technology.Rugby has it sorted so does cricket and tennis has actually made the replay fun(eagle eye).
    The answer to the two questions are key to the problem.
    Money and Power.
    The deals with adidas / VISA and the corporations and the revenue from ticket sales seem to be far more important than development of the game.
    The game itself has not moved on.
    I have heard nothing since the tournament to change my mind on the above.In fact Blatter has been talking of banning draws from group games or similar to encourage positive play - this is completely laughable as it meddles with the result not the cause.Sadly it shows how far from reality FIFA are.
    So now we have the latest vote scandal.
    Its painting a picture for me.
    Its going to be hard to change.Voices from within 'Football UK' won't want to shout 'foul' ( ref Jennings) , but thats just the problem as it will perpetuate Blatters reign and this is what needs to end.Nobody should be in power this long , it corrupts.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Congratulations Sunday Times, No world cup for England now.

  • Comment number 28.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 29.

    That it was a UK newspaper that's gone to print with a story with serious allegations shouldn't matter.


    You are right.

    BUT by all accounts, the Sunday Times has finished off the England bid.

    It will not be England 2018 because of this "scoop".

    A foolish moment for the paper to open it's big mouth.

  • Comment number 30.

    Referee!!!...'whistle blowing' in football is fine as long as it produces fair results and a change in behaviour (for the better) of all sports' participants. That applies both on and off the pitch. More transparency and accountability is needed.

    It's sad the blog moderators seem to be acting harshly against anyone suggesting who's really to blame when facts speak for themselves.. a real shame! The current story is indicative of footballs' sad malaise. Everyone can see cheating going on..often it's blindingly obvious (both on and off the pitch), but who holds those in charge accountable if even the mildest of criticisms are silenced out of a self interested fear of backlash?

  • Comment number 31.

    Trying this again, hoping to keep to House Rules:

    Where, oh where is the story of the other FIFA accused? The Tahitian accused of the same thing as the Nigerian?? WHERE IS IT? Did they not get footage of him too? Why is there nothing about him, all reports so heavily tilted against the African!
    Tired of biased reporting. I saw this story on BBC news and was shocked to see that straight after showing the clip, the TV lady immediately stated that the African had asked for money for personal use while in the clip ALL he said was that it was going to develop the game. Are the BBC now mindreaders, judge/jury?
    In no way am I defending impropriety but hey, some balance please!

  • Comment number 32.

    This won't do England's bid any good, for sure, but I'm astonished no one has put two and two together with this week's charade at Liverpool and the WC 2018 bid. By allowing oil billionaires on the one hand, and bloodsucking Americans on the other, to wreck our clubs and distort our league, we are an international laughing stock. When we don't win the bid, this should be recognised as the main reason.

    It won't be, of course.

  • Comment number 33.

    Every Nigerian interested in football knows Amos Adamus pedigree.
    He has been doing this for donkey years and has become one of the richest men in Africa through football.
    It was only a matter of time before he got caught.
    This has been the most open secret in Nigerian football for ages.

  • Comment number 34.

    Please Goggle Doctor Amos Adamu and open a pandora box.This guy has been a civil servant all his life but has tremendous wealth and assets,where did all this come from?
    FIFA house of horror.

  • Comment number 35.

    If "this is just how things work" surely it's rather tragic ? Perhaps there could be set limits on how much can be spent on presentation to the fifa chaps then surely it could be made fair and solely about what the country could offer the world cup experience ?

  • Comment number 36.

    Once again we see the problems with Money and Sport! It will come down to the fans (ala the paying public) losing all faith in the governing bodies before long and lose interest with the sports the police and promote. If the corruption and farce in sport in general continues then the athletes and associated governors face the prospect of their money train running dry very quickly. I think the time of the general populous accepting such behaviour as standard when they face such hard financial times themselves is growing quickly to an end!

  • Comment number 37.

    Wow! a world wide game that seems to completely ignore unfair play and innapropriate business dealings from the people that run it. In most other facets of the entertainment industry the fans/audience would vote with their feet and watch/do something else. But no, we English battle on regardless, "Its our game we owe it our loyalty". NO YOU DONT, its a game ruled by political will and side room deals between Central/Eastern Europe and South America, which are 2 places synonymous with ethical business practises and fair play, I think not. WAKE UP, football is bent and there is no way back

  • Comment number 38.

    This is not a news story. It would be a news story if it didn't happen, or if there was a single brain in the world of football that thought it didn't happen.

    It doesn't say much for the world of journalism when cheque-book journalism and the Murdoch-press are the conduits for this kind of information.

    Step forward please the BBC and their moderators, who have in the past prevented me from quoting reports about Sepp Blatter (reports that were BBC articles written by BBC journalists).

  • Comment number 39.

    I think we all know where FIFA is on a scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is an open, honest, scandal free organisation and 10 is a corrupt one full of self serving 'you scratch my back...' individuals).

    In a bid to keep this message from being removed, clearly the answer is '1' :) Perhaps an honourary knighthood for Jack Warner for services to football might be in order?

  • Comment number 40.

    Lets hope this problem is solved quickly and hope it does not affect any of the nations hoping to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup

    Things like this should never be in football but still is in football

    Lets hope this does not delay the announcment date for both 2018 and 2022 World Cups

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    I would love for us to leave FIFA and start a new World Football regulatory body dedicated to fair play and true financial transparency.
    All electronic assistance to be used to ensure good decision making and retrospectively punish cheating.
    We can dream...

    It's not as though England have any hope of either winning or (now) hosting the World Cup in the immediate future.

    Any other organisation would have sacked such as Jack Warner a long time ago.

  • Comment number 43.

    If we dont get the world cup this can be the only reason except racism to the british. Either one is very bad.

    We clearly have the best bid, we would fill out every game at good prices,we would have the best atmosphere and we could host the world cup next week.

    I see serious questions being asked if we dont get it tbh.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    I just wrote a comment in what I thought was civil language that was critical of the Sunday Times' role in this matter. Apparently it broke the house rules. Does anyone know what the house rules are?

    The essence of my comment was that I'm heart-broken that the Sunday Times has destroyed the chance that there might be a World Cup in England in my lifetime. I also made the point that, instead of performing genuine investigative journalism, the Sunday Times had chosen to create their own corruption to report on. I have an extremely low opinion of this type of 'entrapment' journalism, which is unfortunately becoming all too common.

    I suppose that, if this comment is also removed, I will at least know that I'm not allowed to criticize the Sunday Times.

  • Comment number 47.

    Glad to see this corrupt bidding process has been brought to its knees, we will never know how many backhanders and sweeteners have been given in previous years to secure votes. Well done to the Sunday Times for exposing this World Cup bidding sham.

  • Comment number 48.

    #43 Mattdma

    I think the assumption that the English bid is 'clearly the best' is admirably patriotic, but, unless you have seen all four bid books, it is baseless. No matter, given what appears to have been some extremely successful politicking, until today it seemed to be becoming highly probable that our bid would prevail. After today I have little hope. My guess is that both Russia and Spain/Portugal had very competitive bids that would have been unlucky losers. Not anymore. With the Sunday Times eliminating England's bid from contention, it's probably become a toss-up between two very acceptable bids. I'd personally prefer Spain/Portugal but expect Russia to get the nod.

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm not in the UK right now. Could someone tell me if anyone - the BBC, other news media, politicians, the FA - are trying to find out what could possibly have motivated the Sunday Times to do this. Were they totally blind to the probable repercussions or do they just not care? I would appreciate an update.

  • Comment number 50.


    If the Sunday Times had chosen to do the investigative journalism required to expose the corruption you talk of, they might be due a little praise. Unfortunately they chose the much less arduous (and journalistically meritorious) route of entrapment. They havn't actually exposed any corruption - they've simply created a little so they can sell newspapers. Rather than praiseworthy, I find their actions contemptible - and I would view them as contemptible even if their actions were not likely to result in England losing the chance to stage the World Cup.

  • Comment number 51.


    I can't think of anything I said in comment #45 that I haven't said in my subsequent 4 comments. I would really appreciate an email indicating how the comment broke house rules. Many thanks.

  • Comment number 52.

    Whether it be FIFA , the IOC ..or at a lesser level the Commonwealth Games's a simple fact that many Westerners have an expectation that sporting officials from non Western countries may well be bent and must act on this basis because if they didn't do so Big Events would always be held in countries where such concerns are more easily shrugged off. It's the same principle as doing business in large parts of the world either pay up or the business will go to others who are not so ethically challenged
    Of course if you make a fuss about this state of affairs you will be called names..that's the world we have created

  • Comment number 53.

    @ #25. SportBoy

    I am surprised you were in line with the goal line, watching intently and can still say 'couldn't have told you in that moment the ball was in or not' for a ball that bounced a foot inside the goal line. I cant believe you were watching intently. You are someone given to doubting what your eyes see?

    As for the sale of the vote, any system that relies on votes and vote banks will always remain susceptible to manipulation. 'Personal integrity' may be an exalted human goal but it can never be a binding factor for any expected outcome. There are far too many subtle ways of sabotaging the ideal; we all love to be 'human' when it suits us.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    As far as I am concerned, I am not bothered who is hosting the world cup. At least will the next world cup matches will be of less controversy. (England's goal disallowed, fouls in the final, some hand balls allowed.. some not.. some of the red cards.given..etc.. to talk about a few) Will they make sure there is proper refereeing of the game with proper technologies used... As long as the game is played in true spirits, I am happy with that.

  • Comment number 56.

    Wow! FIFA in corruption scandal, would have ever thought it possible? No surprises here then, just a small tip of a huge iceberg. Nothing new, look behind the scences at South Africa, so sad that these people run world football, SB is the biggest problem.

  • Comment number 57.

    For the record, i will be happy for England not to get the 2018 WC. Football in this country is a shambles, players salieries out of control, football clubs running massive debts, ticket prices far too high, look at our own PL bosses, are they not like FIFA?

    The Germans are showing us how it should be done, good financial control and cheap tickets for fans.

  • Comment number 58.

    Anyone who thinks FIFA is or was completely clean should read the excellent "Said & Done" series on the Guardian's website. It's not all about FIFA, but they seem to try so hard to get into it every week...

    Amos Adamu was even featured a couple of weeks ago.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    As a child watching the drama of Italia 90, if you'd asked me whether I would like the World Cup on my doorstep I'd have bitten your arm off for it. 20 years on and now older, supposedly wiser and undoubtedly more familiar with the machinations of the FIFA travelling circus, I would be delighted for the English FA to withdraw from this whole sorry, sordid process. I honestly cannot see the arguments for it being held here in terms of legacy or finance - yes, I understand it is projected to bring in £xxx millions, but haven't we been home to The World's Greatest League TM for the last 10 years or more? This is not a 3rd world country in need of FIFA's evangelising missionaries. The Olympics is surely enough global attention already for this small island.

  • Comment number 61.

    Why is that only the English media try to bribe everyone and then claim corruption?!

    Who is actually more corrupt? The one who instigates corruption or the one who accepts the bribe?

    Long tradition of giving bribes!

  • Comment number 62.

    As many have said, the allegations will come as no surprise to anyone. Again, as many have said, the fact that they came from an English newspaper will almost certainly ensure that the 2018 WC goes to Russia. England is not a popular country in FIFA (or UEFA) circles. In so many respects (facilities, stadia, infrastructure, fans, climate, time zones - there's only 1! - policing etc) the bid is head and shoulders above its competitors, yet one can't help but get the impression that many FIFA delegates have simply been looking for reasons not to award England their vote. They now have their reason.

    The greatest travesty here is that FIFA under Blatter have basically set themselves up as a kind of government without borders. They labour under the pretence of being democratically elected and talk about the development of nations as being part of their work, however they are no more democratically elected than the Iranian government. They retain charitable status yet do not suffer the financial scrutiny that any charity would sign up to in the UK.

    Personally, I'll take a press that is free to report what it chooses and maintains a healthy degree of cynicism over and above a World Cup that can only be won through corruption. Sad thing to have to write though.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    As for our Government, there are mostly corrupt themselves but any international black eye always forces them to act even if only for show so this is just peachy... I hope FIFA's investigation really outs the whole can of worms. As for the punters who expect this from 'third world officials', I don't blame you for your stance as the history is compelling but believe me when I say that many people here are equally appalled and what's more galling is that every time public sentiment at home has peaked and tried to force the Government to act against the corrupt officials, it is the very same FIFA that has often come down to defend them due to their rules of non-interference by Governments in football administration and so an entrenched elite, well heeled in the manipulation of 's/elections' has just got us caught in a vise.

  • Comment number 66.

    ok im going to try this again, as apparently my comments were considered defamatory?

    I considered maybe lord triesman should have an apology, fifa should finally get some change in leadership and one more point that maybe next world cup we should dig up a scandal on some particular foreign stars rather than english ones. Thinking about it, it was probably the last comment that wasnt liked.

  • Comment number 67.

    I wish some users here would use some logic.
    If this is the last blow to the England bid and we won't get it, then surely with all of the underhand buying of votes thats been suggested, we wouldn't have got the bid in the first place?! It would've been bought away from us.

    Think things through before you type.

  • Comment number 68.

    I would never have expected the Times to do such a tabloid form of journalism.

    I'm not surprised by these findings but surely the motivation to break the story isn't as important as the English bid itself.

    Regardleass of that what FIFA say I think the Times should be held responsible if the English bid is not a success.

    This kind of investigation could have been done later.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think it's almost more honest of these various regional FIFA officials to ask for money for projects (allegedly) in return for votes than for the heads of FIFA to expect to be fawned all over by Heads of State and stay in the best hotels and have Helicopters laid on as if they were a King, Queen or President.

    I'm sure the cost of hosting Blatter and his chums probably worked out as expensive as giving a direct bribe.

    The whole process stinks.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm not in the UK right now. Could someone tell me if anyone - the BBC, other news media, politicians, the FA - are trying to find out what could possibly have motivated the Sunday Times to do this. Were they totally blind to the probable repercussions or do they just not care? I would appreciate an update.


    They do not care.

    Like another "bright yellow object in sky" newspaper they preach patriotism but never practice it.

    Obviously they should have kept the lid on this until after 2nd December.

    But no. They care more about getting their own name in lights. And England comes a distant second to that!

  • Comment number 71.

    The England bid team should tell FIFA we no longer want to be considered for the 2018 WC .. let's be honest Russia will get it anyway! Blatter wants to be known has the man who gave the World football and Russia is new blood. These FIFA people are on to a good thing and going to stick together, they will make someone suffer (that be us!).... So rather than failing again England should make it clear they are too worried about an unfair vote and pull-out. The English bid is the best on offer but we all know we are not liked and unfortunately the decision makers are hardly going to pick us! Sad but true!

  • Comment number 72.

    I'm going to try this again as I suspect my initial post was removed for being defamatory. As a Nigerian sports fan, I am very happy at this sting and the chance it has delivered for the exposure of corruption to which some members of our football administration may be party and more importantly, I am pleased that it offers the chance for something to be done about it that will not warrant a FIFA ban. We can only hope that once the investigation is concluded, there will be enough evidence brought to light to get rid of certain corrupt hold outs who have long held our beloved sport to ransom and routinely made us all look terrible in so doing.

  • Comment number 73.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    Time for an overhaul of the bidding process.
    FIFA agree and then publish the criteria upon which bids are assessed and the weighting that should be applied to each factor.
    They then commission an independent body to assess the bids against those criteria and produce a publish a report that details how each bid measures up with a score for each and then identifies a preferred candidate.
    FIFA executive then meets to discuss that report and confirm the decision. If they choose one of the other bids they must put in the public domain their reasons for having done so.
    The same process should be used for Olympic bids.

  • Comment number 76.

    I think this story and subsequent BBC piece has tought us that it's very difficult to talk about FIFA, Corruption and Sepp Blatter without having your opinion "breaking the house rules".

  • Comment number 77.


    Absolutely agree! I've had a posting moderated out for, I can only assume, including a link to a journalist's website. Ironically the journalist in question has produced two excellent documentaries about this very subject - "The Beautiful Bung" and "FIFA & Coe". And where these documentaries shown? The BBC's Panorama programme. Yes, it's official, the BBC is now afraid of its own shadow!

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    "8. At 3:54pm on 17 Oct 2010, wotmenah wrote:
    I know the two matters should not be conected, but I can't help but wonder whether or not The Sunday Times has just ensured that England will not be selected to host the 2018 World Cup"

    Sadly, this may be true, but that is no reason not to publish a story that is in the public interest. There is certainly no comparison between this and the NotW story. Their story was a sordid kiss-and-tell, serving no-one's interest except their own. This one serves to bring to light a corrupt system. It's true that everyone assumed it was corrupt, but the Times is still admirable for bringing this corruption to light.

    In truth, we'll never know why we lost the bid. Handbags, Triesman or the Times? I suspect FIFA will blame Triesman off the record, and Michel Platini has already laid the groundwork for this claim, but the real reason will be the Times.

  • Comment number 81.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    How can you blame triesman when as it turns out (and realistically what we all knew at the time) what he was saying was actually pretty much true, because if someone is selling votes then "someone" not pointing any fingers but i think we can guess, must have been buying them!

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    We helped set the tone for this bidding process with the 'gift' of 24 luxury designer handbags to the wives of the 24 FIFA voting delegates. It makes me wonder if there was anything inside those bags.

  • Comment number 87.

    The BBC in terms of Gordon Farquhar's original article, and the subsequent zealous moderation of comments, appears to be treading extremely carefully around this subject. For the original article to fail to mention the many allegations of corruption that have been made against FIFA over the years - some through the BBC itself - seems surprising to say the least coming from an experienced sports correspondent. As an article, to fail to mention previous allegations against FIFA itself seems either gutless if the author was aware of them, or frankly abysmal journalism if he wasn't. And then the heavy-handed moderation. Is the BBC under some self-imposed super-injunction that prevent it from even reporting that FIFA has over a number of years been subject to numerous and continuous allegations of corruption and cronyism?

  • Comment number 88.

    Well done BBC... craven, spineless =, weak-kneed article. As usual the real issues get swept away in a welter of "moderated" comment. Pathetic. Don't put such articles out if you have no wish to foment debate!

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    Are we living in North Korea? Is Sepp Blatter doing the moderating on this board? You now remove a comment for criticising the original article for failing to mention THE FACT that numerous allegations (note the word ALLEGATIONS) of corruption and cronyism have been made against FIFA over a number of years both in published print and broadcast through the BBC itself.

    What is this comments section for? Just for people to write "Boo Hoo we won't get the World Cup now because those nasty Times journalists offered a FIFA official a bribe and he appeared to accept it, and FIFA don't like it when people make allegations of corruption against them"?

  • Comment number 91.

    Please can people stop blaming The Times for this? Would you rather live in a country where the press can only report news at certain times for fear of upsetting people in power, or even not be allowed to print it at all? Would you prefer that they waited until the WC had been awarded. That way, if it was awarded to England, we could clearly the corruption that had enabled us to win? Or if we didn't win, then we could just have the rest of the world accusing us of sour grapes and the situation never even getting addressed.

    Frankly, I'd rather win fair and square or not at all. Unfortunately, fair and square seems to be a concept that has passed FIFA by over the years.

  • Comment number 92.

    Pointless. Pointless. Pointless debate, moderated into nothing. What can be said that won't be moderated out?

    FIFA are wonderful. How dare the mean nasty Sunday Times suggest that the FIFA committee are anything other than honest, selfless, and fair assessors of the bidding process.

    "Football is facing its Salt Lake City moment." Correct if I'm wrong, but that happened AFTER the games had been awarded and the committee members had gone home.

    Once the World Cup has been awarded (and we all know who is going to get them), we can blame whoever we like, but FIFA won't change. But since nobody is apparently allowed to criticise them, why should they?

  • Comment number 93.

    I think it is interesting that people are convinced that the Times is sabotaging the England bid. When I first read the story I too thought of the SLC incident and wondered why when the US and England teams were working on concert together to co-ordinate their bids, an English newspaper had to smear the US as the hoax country offering the bribe and remind everyone of SLC? Wouldn't a group of British journalists have posed more effectively as England bid representatives? I think generally the result is going to be a swing away from all seemingly "rich" and "entitled" countries again.

    Another World Cup in the US in 2022 is precisely what soccer in America needs now - I think it could see it fully overtake the NHL in the pantheon, but the Times obviously doesn't agree because they want to live in a make believe world where Americans are corrupt, but people from Qatar and Australia etc. etc. are squeaky clean.

  • Comment number 94.

    It is very funny that we could have any kind of discussion here (Iraq, Afghanistan, the state of the nation, religion, race etc), but as soon as people start to critisise FIFA we have more moderated comments than I have seen in a BBC forum for a long time! Mr Blatter's arm is indeed long!

    People have already mentioned Andrew Jennings' book which was an eye opener for me several years ago. FIFA managed to brush the book off as a piece of bitter sensationalism, I would expect them to do the same with this story too.

    Sadly, I think that the Times has now put an end to our Bid as FIFA do not look too kindly on people rocking their boat (or should I say Luxury Yaht).

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    Looks like the Sunday Times is envious of the publicity generated by the "agent provocateur" stings of the redtop press, and has decided there's room for one more in the gutter.

    Which, of course, prompts the glaring question: what, if any, is the connection of the newspaper to those parties involved with the England 2018 bid?

    One has to wonder, for example, why the lies they used to deceive the FIFA executives centred around the specific pretence of representing an American company, rather than an English one. The Sunday Times is, after all, an English newspaper?

    Any of my fellow Brits who seriously believe that this newspaper operation simply represents a selfless attempt to lay bare the political workings of FIFA - rather than being a manoeuvre with a political agenda of its own - need a swift infusion of reality.

  • Comment number 97.

    48. At 02:30am on 18 Oct 2010, ravelston wrote:

    I think the assumption that the English bid is 'clearly the best' is admirably patriotic, but, unless you have seen all four bid books, it is baseless.


    Unlike the other bids, England can show stadia and infrastructure...NOW, as FIFA and Blatter has admitted. The Russian bid is mostly on a promise, and you will have to fly around Russia to get to the stadia via Russian internal planes, which has one of the worst safely records in the world. Personally I wouldn't give any sporting event to any country unless there was a significant amount of the stadia and infrastructure already built prior to the country building, which will hopefully stop the last minute rush experienced in Delhi.

    Anyway back to the original story. The story might well do England a big favour as all the people that have been caught have admitted that England don't offer bribes, and FIFA might be forced to give it to England as they are clean. There is also talk over the last few months that there was a Panaorama programme in the pipeline in regards to the voting process for 2018/2022 in regards to bribes and corruption at FIFA, but it looks like the Sunday Times got there first.

    As people have already said, this is not a surprise. Once you read the books 'How They Stole The Game?' and 'Foul!',you soon realise that for the last 40 years that they are one the most corrupt sporting governing bodies around. I am certainly not holding my breath for an in depth FIFA investigation, after the cover-up they did over Jack Warner's selling of Trinidad's World Cup tickets, and he'll do anything not to pay the T&T players any money :

    And to prove the top brass at FIFA are up to their necks in corruption :

    FIFA....NOT For The Good Of The Game !!!

  • Comment number 98.

    When you see these FIFA delegates being treated like heads of state and no cost spared in lavish entertainment and 5 star expense, is it any wonder that the bidding process is open to abuse.

  • Comment number 99.

    @97 - Unfortunately FIFA have not been known for their common sense or indeed their fair play. They are a bitter and twisted organisation who will resent that it was the English press that broke the story. They would have found some reason not to give 2018 to England anyway, so we may as well have gone down to a corking own goal!

  • Comment number 100.

    Always thought it would be terrible for England to get the World Cup. I dread to think what the ticket prices would be and how few would end up in the hands of real fans (unless you wanted to watch North Korea V Honduras for £60).

    Then to factor in how much hype the media would give it, makes me shudder.

    Then the fact that some smaller clubs will be left with a legacy of new stadiums far too big for their average crowds and no doubt massive debts to add to their already massive debts.

    In short, let Russia have it.


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