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What do Panorama allegations mean for England?

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David Bond | 17:19 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

Zurich, Switzerland

For weeks now, England's World Cup bid leaders have been speaking with trepidation about the possible fallout from the BBC's Panorama investigation into Fifa.

On Monday morning, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was at it again, tweeting that the bid team was "holding their breath for Panorama tonight".

But now that the main thrust of the programme has been aired on BBC News, just how significant will it turn out to be?

First of all, here is a summary of the central allegations from the programme by the investigative journalist Andrew Jennings.

Andy AnsonEngland bid leader Andy Anson remains confident of success. Photo: AFP

Jennings unearthed a secret document left over from the financial collapse of Fifa's marketing partner ISL in 2001 detailing $100m of bribes, or "schmiergeld" as it is known in German, paid to sports officials to secure lucrative TV and sponsorship contracts.

Among the 175 names of individuals and companies are three current members of the Fifa executive committee - the powerful board of officials that will decide on Thursday which country or countries host the 2018 World Cup.

African football president Issa Hayatou is accused of taking 100,000 French Francs (about £13,000) while Nicolas Leoz, Paraguay's executive committee member, is listed as having received more than $700,000 (£450,000).

An even more eye-watering sum - $9.5m (£6.1m) - was handed to a company called Sanud, which, according to a Brazilian senate inquiry, is directly linked to the Brazilian executive committee member Ricardo Teixeira.

Panorama says these bribes were paid during a 10-year period between 1989 and 1999 - years when Fifa did not sell its TV and sponsorship rights in-house.

The programme also makes some new claims against Jack Warner, the Fifa vice-president from Trinidad and Tobago whom England must convince to back them if they are to stand a chance in Thursday's vote.

Panorama alleges he bought $80,000 (£51,000) worth of official 2010 World Cup tickets to be sold on the black market - something which is against Fifa rules. Fifa did not investigate Warner for wrongdoing despite a similar black market tickets scandal involving him during the 2006 World Cup.

Warner dismisses the claims as a "rehash of the same old bulls***".

So what is the significance of all this?

The ISL bribery allegations are very serious and will raise yet more questions about Fifa's probity coming just weeks after the Sunday Times cash for votes affair.

The ISL story is a scandal worthy of journalistic investigation and the BBC, or anyone else for that matter, should be free to examine Fifa's involvement in what happened.

It is worth pointing out that this was all subject to an investigation by the Swiss magistrate Thomas Hildebrand that, after many months, finally came to court in 2008 with six former ISL officials taking the stand.

Leoz's name emerged in court documents then - but in connection with a payment of much less money.

In the end, the case was closed in June this year when unnamed Fifa officials agreed to repay £3.5m in connection with the kickbacks that were paid by ISL.

And the problem for the Swiss justice system is that at the time when ISL are alleged to have been paying the money out it wasn't actually a criminal offence.

But what is clear, despite the case being closed, is that Fifa still has serious questions to answer over the ISL scandal.

Just how much money was paid to officials connected with the governing body and over how many years?

Fifa will argue that this was all a long time ago - at least 11 years - and that the matter, as far as the Swiss authorities are concerned, is well and truly closed.

The other point to make is that while these are serious allegations against current members of the executive committee, they do not have any direct bearing on the current bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Despite that, it does not mean that there will not be any repercussions. In fact, the implications for England could be as serious as they feared.

Why? Well, firstly, England hoped Hayatou might vote for them. This risks alienating him further as he is already angry at the fallout from the Sunday Times investigation that resulted in Nigerian executive committee member Amos Adamu and three other former African executive committee members being suspended from Fifa.

David Beckham in TrinidadBeckham has been to Trinidad to give kids the benefit of his wisdom. Photo: Getty Images

It could be argued that the impact of the Teixeira and Leoz allegations will be minimal as they are already committed to Spain/Portugal and would only possibly have an influence on England's chances if it came down to a straight fight against Russia in the last round.

But the Warner allegations are potentially the most damaging of the lot. Although he will brush them off in public as an irrelevance - he says he will continue to sleep well at night - privately he will be furious.

Warner, who is said to control at least two but possibly all three of the Concacaf votes, has been courted assiduously by England. David Beckham has been to Trinidad to see him and British Prime Minister David Cameron will have lunch with him this week.

Interesting and worthy of further inspection though Panorama's ticket claims are, they are hardly a smoking gun and, with Warner already expressing his concerns over the programme, this could be the last straw.

Lose Warner and England will lose. It is as simple as that.

England 2018 have already been arguing the programme is not in the public interest and may turn on the BBC and the media if the reaction among Warner and other executive committee members is negative in the next 24 hours.

But the key questions to bear in mind amid all the spin that will follow are these:

Will Panorama halt the vote and cause a major inquest at Fifa? No.

Is it helpful for an England bid already struggling? Probably not.

Will it lose England the bid? No.

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Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    "Lose Warner and England will lose. It is as simple as that."

    "Will it lose England the bid? No."

    Which is it?

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    Looks like the programme is going to revisit the ISL case of 2008 rather than bring any "new" news. Was it worth the hassle?

    And why does Andrew Jennings' personal website look like he shares a web designer with David Icke?

  • Comment number 4.

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

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    Will Panorama do an "how the BBC lost England the World Cup" if we dont win the bid ?

  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    What a perverse situation we find ourselves in. We could be penalised because we have the guts to stand up and declare that there is dishonesty within FIFA. This is only what the majority of people that I have spoken to, have always believed to be the case.

    And now the BBC is being criticised by the FA for airing the facts. Surely, they should be congratulated for having the nerve to bring this to world-wide attention.

    Because of personal greed of certain individuals, we will probably not get the finals which is a great shame as I believe that it is technically the best bid. This really does highlight the need for a radical change in the process. Such great power and control of billions should never be placed in the hands of such a few people.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    What do Panorama allegations mean for England?

    No hosting of the 2018 World Cup seems a good bet.

    The BBC could have course shown Panorama after the vote.

    Is it really in the "public interest" to broadcast a damning documentary on the eve of the vote as the same country bids to host the tournament?

    One of those things that could only happen in Britain. The BBC should know better and I will hold them partly responsible if the bid (which was the favourite not so long ago) is unsuccessful.

  • Comment number 12.

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

  • Comment number 13.


    This is a time for all fans to show solidarity, should they want to see the World Cup played on our shores by sending a fax to FIFA of support for Englands bid in 2018. The Bid Team, HRH Prince William, The Prime Minister and Ambassador Celebrities are all working extremely hard to convince the FIFA delegates that England should host the tournament.

    Here is a link to FIFA Headquarters and their fax number, located on the right of the page;

    http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/federation/administration/index.html



  • Comment number 14.

    @ post number 11, Nushed

    The following is taken from Jonathan Liew's article in today's Telegraph. I think it will help show the folly of such an argument against the BBC and Panorama.

    "All perspective has been lost. When did it become a condition of hosting a World Cup that all criticism of Fifa be suppressed? There’s a term for that. It’s called ‘bending over’. Whatever happened to the idea of World Cup hosts being decided on the basis of stadiums and transport and Nelson Mandela?

    It’s only a TV programme, for heaven’s sake. If Fifa is going to form a negative view of this country as a result of a TV programme, surely that programme should be The Alan Titchmarsh Show?

    There’s hardly a football fan in the country that wouldn’t like to see the World Cup being held in England. But if it means telling our broadcasters what they can and can’t show after EastEnders on a Monday night, then let someone else do it.

    Meanwhile, if anybody at Fifa objects to what they see on Monday night, they have the same method of censorship available to anybody else watching. It’s known as the off button."


    You can read the entire article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/8166426/World-Cup-2018-why-must-Panorama-the-BBC-and-our-national-broadcasters-bend-over-for-Fifa.html

  • Comment number 15.

    I hope Spain win.

    Will be a nice holiday and there's less likelihood of me getting killed there than there will be in Brazil.

  • Comment number 16.

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

  • Comment number 17.

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

  • Comment number 18.

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

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm all for investigative journalism, however if this panorama programme adds nothing new, and it appears that what it is alleging has been in the public domain, then what is the point of airing this programme if there is little fresh evidence? I would not sacrfice the truth and anti corruption for the world cup, but would not want it further jepordised by the rehashing of old claims which has already been dealt with by a Swiss court

  • Comment number 20.

    Well that's us truely been set up by BBC and FIFA. Thanks a millions Panorama and as usual you will walk away from it. You couldn't wait one week.

    What you going to do next tell the kids Father Christmas doesn't exist Xmas eve?

  • Comment number 21.

    The BBC can bang the "In the public interest" drum all they want, the simple fact is the timing is not in the public interest, its in the interest of BBC viewing figures. I for one will be watching El Grand Classico instead

    But at the same time, FIFA needs a clean up now. When you have UEFA working so cleanly and well, it makes me wonder why FIFA cannot be the same. A rotten culture is the only answer I can come up with.

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

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

  • Comment number 24.

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

  • Comment number 25.

    im so fed up with the media in Britain... how is this "in the public interest"??

    Its far more in the public interest that we get to host the world cup and the revenue such an event would bring to England ....

  • Comment number 26.

    After all the fuss Panorma rehash some old news. The taxpayers money is so well spent. Its so embarrassing I hope Russia gets it. Also will BBC do a program on Why did Panorama waist taxpayers money?

  • Comment number 27.

    The Panorama show will be the final nail in the coffin of the bid.

    Is the show in the public interest? No. Having the World Cup come to England (with all the benefits it would bring) - now that would be in the public interest.

    Of course you are allowed to air shows like this as and when you want. But all this rubbish about 'public interest' merely hides the fact that the BBC is in fact screwing the public out of a genuine chance of seeing the World Cup hosted in England, for the sake of a (not very insightful) bandwagon story.

    People are angry about this - and with good reason. But let's not worry about what the people think - they only pay the licence fees!

  • Comment number 28.

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  • Comment number 29.

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

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    14. At 6:24pm on 29 Nov 2010, Alen wrote:
    @ post number 11, Nushed

    The following is taken from Jonathan Liew's article in today's Telegraph. I think it will help show the folly of such an argument against the BBC and Panorama.

    "All perspective has been lost. When did it become a condition of hosting a World Cup that all criticism of Fifa be suppressed? There’s a term for that. It’s called ‘bending over’. Whatever happened to the idea of World Cup hosts being decided on the basis of stadiums and transport and Nelson Mandela?

    It’s only a TV programme, for heaven’s sake. If Fifa is going to form a negative view of this country as a result of a TV programme, surely that programme should be The Alan Titchmarsh Show?

    There’s hardly a football fan in the country that wouldn’t like to see the World Cup being held in England. But if it means telling our broadcasters what they can and can’t show after EastEnders on a Monday night, then let someone else do it.

    Meanwhile, if anybody at Fifa objects to what they see on Monday night, they have the same method of censorship available to anybody else watching. It’s known as the off button."


    You can read the entire article at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/england/8166426/World-Cup-2018-why-must-Panorama-the-BBC-and-our-national-broadcasters-bend-over-for-Fifa.html

    --------------

    None of us, including Daily Telegraph journalists, know if the programme will or will not affect the outcome of the vote. What I object to is the timing of it and it being in the "public interest" to show it just prior to the voting process. The executive members who will collectively make the decision may well be able to differentiate between a television programme and a hosting bid, but both come from the same country; there is still a link. The members are voting on behalf of an organisation in the spotlight for negative reasons. They may have a problem in contributing towards that country hosting FIFA's flagship event. I'm not prepared to accept there is no intrinsic link between the two just because a Daily Telegraph journalist says there isn't.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am getting so annoyed with Panorama's defence being nothing other than "it's in the public interest". That is not an answer to why it has to be broadcast THIS WEEK is it? I want to know why it couldn't be broadcast AFTER December the 2nd. Well? Why?

    Also, - it's in the public interest - is total twaddle anyway. Any member of the public who may be interested in this story are more interested in us getting the World Cup! That's what's of interest to us! We don't care about a few bribes years ago! All the public are interested in is getting the World Cup.

    Shame on you Panorama and the BBC. I thought you were better than this but you're no better than the 'News' Of The World.

  • Comment number 33.

    Win or lose, the whole affair reflects very badly on the BBC, a corporation paid for from money stealth-taxed from the very people who will suffer most from its actions.

  • Comment number 34.

    If I was the Russians I would have made sure Panorama was given that information knowing full well like Pavlov's dog what they were going to do with it and when.

    Deep moles are still in the BBC apparently, where's the Panorama programme on that?

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    So basically you're writing a blog asking us if your organisation has effectively written off England's chances of hosting the 2018 World Cup?

    Congratulations, you have just overtaken FIFA as the most pathetic organisation on the planet.

  • Comment number 37.

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

  • Comment number 38.

    So why couldn't Panorama just hold on till after the draw? I just don't get it. England can kiss their chances goodbye now.

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 40.

    Post 6. I doubt the BBC will but expect that story from The Sun, The Times and Sky Sports and Sky News and pretty much the whole Murdoch empire if we lose the bid as people seem to expect.

    Also as a side issue if Spain and Portugal can afford to bid for an pay for the 2018 World Cup then no doubt they won't need us to bail their governments out in the next few months

  • Comment number 41.

    15. At 6:25pm on 29 Nov 2010, RubberNutz wrote:
    I hope Spain win.

    Will be a nice holiday and there's less likelihood of me getting killed there than there will be in Brazil.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ummm why? what exactly are you planning of doing in Brasil???...that you are not planning on doing in Spain.

  • Comment number 42.

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  • Comment number 43.

    If i could believe for a minute this was little more than a hatchet job on the FA, and therefore every football lover in the country, i'd ask the bbc why it didn't present all these 'facts' many moons ago when it might have some impact on the fifa exec board or the way its members conduct themselves. By raking over these 20 year old allegations now, you show contempt for the process and all those involved in a cynical move too attract publicity and hits for your website.
    Once again i can only hope the government tell the bbc too become a subscriber broadcaster, like sky, and if you want my tv tax, you'd better start listening.

  • Comment number 44.

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

  • Comment number 45.

    If only the BBC promoted TRANSPARENCY in DECISION-MAKING, they could become a real beacon of truth in the world and go a long way to eliminating rancid corruption in all walks of life. Realistically, the notion of a "free press" does little to deter malpractice since proving a case is invariably so much more difficult than defending it.

    Sadly, the BBC are deaf to such proposals which makes them guilty of perpetuating the status quo instead of making a positive contribution to redress such matters.

  • Comment number 46.

    The BBC is so lost, it can't see the obvious.

    For the sake of its own perception of its own purity, the BBC is risking what millions of us plebs would value.

    And if it "succeeds", no doubt we'll patronisingly be told that it was only in our interests - the public interest.

    You fools.

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    BBC and Panorama can hide behind the "Public Interest" line if they want but the truth is that they have re-hashed a load of old tripe and "New evidence" and are so up themselves that they would happily stab this country in the back to claim an "exclusive" where no such story exisits.

    Time for this discredited organisation to be stripped of its charter and then to be brought up to date!

  • Comment number 50.

    This is why the BBC should be a subscription only service, so that when they stab the country in the back like this we can withdrawn our licence fee! There's no reason why this program could not have been shown after the the bid result. This is just another glory hunting journo wanting to make a name for himself, this time at the expense of millions of pounds for our economy and thousands of jobs!


    Absolute disgrace!

  • Comment number 51.

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

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

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  • Comment number 54.

    Should be interesting
    Must watch tonight
    It's important that this programme is showed today

    I still expect England to win the bid for hosting the 2018 World Cup

  • Comment number 55.

    Ah panorama.The same useless programme who spent 2 years undercover investigating football agents,only to unearth...er...nothing!Well nothing except the fact that some agents are gobby.Thanks for nothing panorama.Time somebody made the big call and ditched this garbage programme.

  • Comment number 56.

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

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

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  • Comment number 59.

    Seriously, as an non-English person, the rest of the world is laughing at how the BBC are destroying England's bid.

    Fair enough, investigate such matters if you must, but if you're going to air such a show, how can it possibly be argued that it is in the public interest to air it the week of the vote itself. Why not release the findings after the vote?

    Its sad, it really is. I'm pretty sure the average licence payer isnt paying the BBC money to destroy England's bid, something which millions have gone into and something which would be phenomenal for the economy.

    Well done BBC, a job well done!

  • Comment number 60.

    So please tell me how this is 'in the public interest'.

    Id guess we can assume that the public want the World Cup, so how does running a story likely to affect our bid just before the vote qualify as in our interest.

    If it had been run next month, or 3 months ago, then it might be true, but running it now, when there is only enough time to offend FIFA, and not enough time to them to address it, only serves to raise the profile of Panorama.

    No sorry, its only in your interest.

    Given that I can avoid buying the Daily Mail and Times/Sunday Times in protest, please tell me how I can make a similar protest against the BBC and juts watch/pay for ITV, Channel 4 etc instead.

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't which BBC exec signed this off, but they should be frogmarched out of the building! This is an utter disgrace this is just pulling up an old story with a different slant...

    This could spell the end of the BBC as we know it, as they'll be some serious questions being asked the of production team of Panorama.

    Embarrassing isn't a word I would use, it's a complete and utter shambles!

  • Comment number 62.

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

  • Comment number 63.

    It just doesn't make any sense why you guys can't just wait a week to show it. You're saying it's in the public interest, however the vast majority of users on this website say it isn't and a hell of a lot more of the public who don't use this website disagree with showing it too.

    Oh well, it just confirms to all of us what a selfish bunch of plebs you are.

  • Comment number 64.

    If the BBC were really concerned about the issues they are "exposing" in this Panorama then they would have reported it way back when it was news, regardless of whether or not the bid and FIFA were in the spotlight at that particular moment.

    The BBC can hide behind their arguments on the merits of a free media, public interest and the need to expose corruption, and you'll be hard-pressed to find an English, football-loving, TV license-paying person who will disagree with those arguments.

    But the fact will always remain that in the TIMING of this Panorama broadcast - the last Monday before the bid decision - the BBC's motives are exposed as being purely selfish and very much in contempt of "the public interest".

  • Comment number 65.

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  • Comment number 66.

    I'm afraid the only "public interest" here is that the programme might just eat in to the viewing figures of "Get me Out of here"

  • Comment number 67.

    Spain puts on Real Madrid vs Barcelona. We put on repeats of sleaze allegations doh!

  • Comment number 68.


    The BBC are pathetic!!

    If you really want to tell the public about FIFA's problems, then show it next week!!

    By showing it tonight the programme will ruin Englands bid.

    The BBC are suppose to help England....not hinder England!!!

    BBC you are a disgrace, hang your heads in shame!!!!

  • Comment number 69.

    The release of information regarding corruption within FIFA should have no fallout on England's bid to host in 2018. If the release of such information regarding corruption does have any impact on the result it just adds weight to the allegations being released as they should theoretically be voting for which they think is the best bid based on the documentation etc submitted.

  • Comment number 70.

    why do weed need fifa we ivented the game weve got the best leagues in the world y not tell them were to go im sure all the other europian countrys would follow stuff fifa

  • Comment number 71.

    'Is it helpful for an England bid already struggling? Probably not.'
    What do you mean 'probably' - of course it's going to harm the bid, the BBC has just made serious allegations against the people who we need to support us for the bid!

    Saying that it is in the publics' interest to reveal these allegations is insulting our intelligence - if you gave anybody living in England the choice of us hosting the World Cup or the BBC revealing some allegations against Fifa that may or may not be proved, 99% of us would choose the World Cup.

    We have just come out of a recession and spirits are hardly at an all time high among the population. The World Cup would do so much to boost the morale of the country now, leading up to 2018 and 2018 itself.
    So to say that it is in the publics' interest is rubbish, especially as the BBC has chosen to air these allegations three days before the vote.

    Why three days before the vote? Because it will make the maximum impact and that is exactly what the BBC wants. If they really cared about the 'public interest' then they should have aired Panorama after the vote. Simple.

    I thought the BBC had a bit more decency and integrity than to ruin something which the vast majority of the population would have been really looking forward to. I know many others feel the same as me and I hope their is a suitable backlash against the BBC.

    'Will it lose England the bid?' Yes.

  • Comment number 72.

    Does anyone really think we will get the World Cup after this. What makes it worse is the fact that come 2018 all the BBC pundits will be sitting in either Russia or Spain/Portugal enjoying themselves and telling us what a fantastic tournament it is. Yet the true fans in England will have been denied the opportunity , for most, of experiencing this once in a lifetime experience in our own country.

  • Comment number 73.

    Fantatsic BBC moderators-I see its ok for your 'journalists' to say what they like about FIFA and its Committee, yet when one of us on the forum boards say the same thing its 'broken the house rules'?

    Why dont you start pratcising this 'free speech' malarky you supposedly believe in, rather than only accepting an opinion when it comes from a journalist.

  • Comment number 74.

    Yep...The good old brits, lets all pull together,,except the media of course, they just want to sell tomorrows chip paper,and were bring the world cup to these shores...yipeeeeee....ummmm

    Just a thought....IF and its a big IF now, we did win the bid, will the BBC change their tune and want to televise matches, by allowing this programme tonight to go ahead, now it seems all at the BBC dont want the world cup here, so, please BBC, if we are lucky enough to win the bid, dont buy right to televise matches, it makes you a hipocrite.

  • Comment number 75.

    Hosting the World Cup is more important to the national interest than your programme. If you have to screen it, show it after the vote, otherwise you along with the Sunday Times will be blamed for undermining the bid – leading to accusations that you did it for self-interest not the national interest

  • Comment number 76.

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

  • Comment number 77.

    I was staggered for words when I had heard the BBC were airing this 3 days before the 2018 bid was being decided.

    As quoted before, the self-righteous Panorama have delivered a crushing blow to a wobbling bid. British media are a joke, public interest?? More like ratings/papers sold..

    Special thanks to Lord Triesman's whoopsie and more prominently BBC's flagship of foul-ups Panorama for their exquisite timing. This country could really do with the revenue of a world cup, for me.. more importantly I want to see World Cup Football in England.

    Better start preparing for the 2018 in Spain/Portugal!

  • Comment number 78.

    break house rules..........its the truth

    you are allowed to place what you think is the truth infront of millions, im not allowed to place what i think is the truth infront of a chosen few.

  • Comment number 79.

    Blog#45 was passed for moderation before publishing. Now, I wonder if there is anyone in the BBC with enough vision (and authority) to see the enormous benefits that could accrue through TRANSPARENCY in DECISION-MAKING. We may not agree with the decision-makers, but at least we would be able to understand their decisions. Wouldn't that would make so much better, and informative TV by being able to examine each of the co-decider's thinking (and their collective result) when they decide the winner of the 2018 World Cup. As things stand, this cannot be done.

    Being open to scrutiny, that alone would be discipline enough. But the benefits go so much further. BBC, who, amongst you, is prepared to listen?

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm betting the bid was already judged to be lost. So, if these allegations were divulged after the vote, it would seem like sour grapes and it would have been brushed aside. Also, the vote having been granted to another country would be fait accompli.

    This way, it might cause FIFA to delay and/or re-structure the voting procedures and England then might stand a chance.

  • Comment number 81.

    Flaminhaggis,

    I totally agree with your comment.

    The BBC's own staff can have freedom of speech, yet us, the general public cannot have our own free speech!!

    Ive already had a comment disallowed for "breaking house rules"

    Panorama has helped English public in the past by telling us about many under cover problems, yet this programme will only contribute to England loosing votes!!

    I'm totally amazed at the BBC's timing of this Panorama programme.

  • Comment number 82.

    To all out there who are reading these posts....what the country REALLY THINKS is moderated, so you cant read it, and there were NO SWEAR WORDS at all, I promise.

  • Comment number 83.

    Living and working in Berlin at the moment and miss the BBC a lot ( sorry change that to did !) talking with the locals here who felt it was Englands time for the big show and they are just as astonished as I am at the media in our country lining up to take shots at Fifa before the vote .

    No argument with the content of the show but the timing is crazy !
    and quite frankly seditious !



  • Comment number 84.

    Why can't the BBC just wait and show it next week?
    Makes me sick. All that work, all that effort, and the BBC is happy to jeopardise it just so that the timing suits them.
    Why?

  • Comment number 85.

    Not enough meat on this bone unfortunately, Panorama. There was a lot to be lost, and unfortunately, not enough has been gained in return, not even in the way of the truth.

  • Comment number 86.

    Doesn't everyone realise that the media do not want the World Cup in England because they will lose their month's free trips, expense accounts (at the public's cost) and football in sunnier climates - I include Russia in the sunnier climates because, having been there in early summer, I know that temperatures in the 80s are not uncommon.

    Does this not also smack of corruption?

  • Comment number 87.

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

  • Comment number 88.

    @HolteEnderPrepared-I know its ridiculous, thats what infuriates me sometimes about our beloved press, they sometimes seem to think that its only them that have the right to publish an opinion on a matter such as the panorama programme, and that it is their opinion only that has any weight or credence to it.

    If thats the case why they insist on having opinion forums yet alone encourage people to post theirs is beyond me.

    Onto the panorama programme, to be honest think if there are dodgy dealings going on we do of course have a right to know about it,but your right the timing could have been better.

  • Comment number 89.

    How arrogant of some middle ranking BBC Producer to tell us what is in the Public Interest.
    How is it in the Public Interest to waste the millions of pounds already sunk into the bid process during the worst recession for 80 years?
    How is it in the Public Interest to deprive tens of thousnads of people overtime / new contracts/ temporary work etc in the lead up to and during the course of the tournament?
    How is it in the Public Interest to destroy a chance for the whole of the UK to benefit from being showcased as a tourist and event destination around the world?
    How is it in the Public Interest to deprive millions of football fans here the chance to participate in the World's biggest single sport event?

    All of this thrown away by some pseudo intellectuals from Notting Hill who can only drag up a few additional scraps of 'evidence" for allegations that have all been aired before.

    Good job!

  • Comment number 90.

    What does it achieve to rake up the past dodgy dealings of FIFA against the prize of the 2018 World Cup for the UK. Who says this programme and the newspaper articles are in the public interest. The priority here is circulation and viewing figures, no more and no less.

    Gary Lineker should resign from the BBC in protest.

  • Comment number 91.

    If England lose they should take it to court by saying that the alleged bribe takers being found out were behind their loss. In other words allegedly 'rigged'.
    I bet if Panorama dug into football as a whole then there would be a lot more skeletons in the cupboard

  • Comment number 92.

    Of course it's in the national interest. If Fifa is corrupt, won't our country be tacitly acknowledging that by doing business with them, rather than doing the right moral thing. Its one thing to say you didn't know (although that in itself demonstrates ignorance which doesn't belong in the professional sphere), but if you are presented with potential evidence then you should check it out, not say its a bit awkward right now.

  • Comment number 93.

    BBC out of order, claiming public interest, who asked us, sone upstarts trying to make a name for themselves and be controversial more like. It's 20 years old and would have Ben in the public interest next week! I suggest a review & someone's job needs to go for this!

  • Comment number 94.

    Most people seem to be moaning that it has totally ruined the bid, there is no proof this has happened and the bid team have already made statements distancing themselves from the allegations being published so until the so called "fat lady sings" we should all sit tight instead of being defeatist.

    FIFA are aware of what is happening and have taken action against 3, for all we know it might make things fairer because who of those still able to vote, is willing to risk going ahead with a bribe etc they may have taken if they know FIFA are watching their every move.

    FIFA will know that every move in this process will be being scrutinised too and if anything is found to prove something has happened in these 2 bids then they will have egg on their face and will have to do something otherwise they will have lost all credibility as a governing body.

  • Comment number 95.

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

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    Why did England back Jack Warner to win votes? Lack of integrity I guess. They will get what they have long deserved.

  • Comment number 98.

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

  • Comment number 99.

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

  • Comment number 100.

    I'm no football fan and couldn't really care less whether England wins the bid or not (other than the extra revenue it brings to the country and perhaps slightly reduced taxes as a result). But I agree with most of the posters above, how on earth could the timing of this programme possibly be thought to be in the public interest?

    In the interests of the *producers* of the show certainly, what harm is a little notoriety if they can boast to be the authors of a "bold" and "controversial" programme on their CVs, but I would have expected better of the BBC.

    As a long-standing supporter of both the BBC and press freedom, I'm VERY disappointed that they decided to air this now. Shame on you, BBC, for acting like a bunch of immature schoolkids who are pleased with the attention they get when they scrawl obscene graffiti on the blackboard.

 

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