Time for Fifa to ask difficult questions
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.
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?