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Do World Cup bid reports matter?

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David Bond | 10:11 UK time, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The one real conclusion you can draw from the publication of the Fifa evaluation reports on the World Cup bidders for 2018 and 2022 is, well, that, there is no conclusion.

All that we will see are the executive summaries, which, in the most neutral Swiss technocratic language, assess how each of the nine bidders have fared in relation to Fifa's technical requirements.

It is understood a fuller report examining each of the bids across 17 different risk criteria will be sent to members of Fifa's executive committee before the votes on 2 December.

With all the bidders trying to spin their way through the last two weeks of this contest, it is not straightforward to work out who, if anyone, has come out on top. But, as far as 2018 is concerned, it is understood England has done at least as well as the Spain/Portugal bid and slightly better than Russia.

But we will never see the reports and, in publishing the bland summaries that offer only the level of legal risk to Fifa, world football's governing body has deliberately avoided any controversy over the evaluation process.

Yet there are criticisms.

England's lack of luxury hotel rooms, concerns over training sites for teams in London and some quibbling over letters of government guarantees are highlighted. England 2018 officials say these are minor and are being dealt with.

Russia's transport infrastructure is a concern for Fifa, while Spain/Portugal's decision to sumbmit a joint bid is flagged up as a worry.

For the Netherlands and Belgium, the report is a bit more of a setback. The bid's medium legal risk assessment makes it less of a safe bet for 2018, mainly because of a complete failure to provide any government guarantees.

In the race for 2022, there are serious questions raised over Qatar's bid, the most notable being health concerns for players, officials and supporters who would be taking part in a World Cup in the intense heat of June and July. The United States is also criticised over their ability to provide guarantees.

Will any of this matter when it comes to the vote?

Some members of the Fifa executive committee do give serious regard to the technical reports. However, without any clear guidance from the group that carried them out, it is difficult to see the reports being particularly persuasive.

Others may use the concerns raised as an excuse to vote in a way they were always considering anyway. And what must be kept in mind throughout the next two weeks is that the whole selection process is neither open nor transparent.

It is a secret vote and working out how it will go is always an educated guess. Even afterwards, we may not know who voted for whom and why. All we can do is try to read the signs - and at the moment England still has some ground to make up on Spain/ Portugal and Russia.

That is mainly because of the backlash from some Fifa members against the British media over investigations into corruption in the bidding process.

On Wednesday, the Fifa ethics committee is due to finish its three-day hearing into claims by the Sunday Times that two executive committee members were willing to offer their votes in return for cash for football projects.

It is also examining claims made by the same newspaper that Spain and Portugal are in a voting alliance with Qatar.

If the ethics committee takes strong action against one or both of the Fifa members - Reynald Temarii of Tahiti and Amos Adamu of Nigeria - then that might help defuse the row over the media, even though BBC Panorama is still planning its own programme on Fifa three days before the vote.

Of potentially greater significance will be the findings on Spain/Portugal and Qatar. There are suggestions that, even though no evidence of collusion has been found, Fifa may consider delaying the vote for 2022 to remove any suspicions from the process.

That would have a much bigger impact on England's chances than any evaluation report.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Firstly, you may need to ask the website people to change the link from the football homepage as it currently says "David Bong's Blog"

    Secondly, I still struggle to see how hosting the world cup is actually that good for English football. I'm convinced it's going to catapult the price of tickets into a new orbit out of the reach of many fans and also the clubs spending money they don't have on new stadiums will be saddled with impossible debts for years to come.

  • Comment number 2.

    You're spot on about the conclusions.....FIFA are giving away nothing.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again......organisationally FIFA is rife for corruption. The bidding process is a farce that absorbs multi millions and presents a power base to the FIFA executive that gives them absolutely no incentive to change.

    Blatter and his 'generals' showboat around the world being treated as royalty in this high stages 'game'. Hell, Blatter even gets the ear of prime mininters and heads of state on a regular basis. It's proposterous!

    And by extension, with the way FIFA is set-up the power rises (and rests) right at the top (Blatter). How people gain positions, rise in the organisation and position theselves for the top job, when it becomes vacant, all depends on whose backs they are scrathing in the meantime.

    In that respect Blatter holds all the aces I said before....I would not be the least bit surprised that whoever is awarded the 2018 and 2022 world cups is whoever Blatter himself favours.

    All bidding countries are falling over themselves to influnce the voting members but, at the end of the day, does anyone influence them more than Blatter? Blatter sees it as one of his legacies that he brought the WC to Africa (yes HIS legacy and HE brought it). What does that say about his influence on the voting?

    Maybe bringing it to Russia is another 'legacy' opposed to the mundane choice of Engalnd?

    I'm not English but it's not about national loyalties it's about an organisation that needs restructuring from the bottom-up and a process that needs flushing down the nearest convenience.

    Sometime soon football people have to find a way to purge this organiation!

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with #2- organisationally FIFA is rife for coruption. I think you may be slightly exaggerating it to make your point, but it certainly does seem strange how the full reports can't be published afterwards. Surely they would help countries find out where to improve their bids for next time? And I think it's even more bizarre how we don't find out who votes for who!..
    I just hope England do win the bid, it's been far too long since we've had decent international football in this country...! With any luck it may even give us a good foundation for the future

  • Comment number 4.

    The BBC MUST MUST MUST not show the Panorama episode at least until the vote for 2018 is done and dusted. Come on can the media for once help and support this country!

  • Comment number 5.

    #4, completely agreed

  • Comment number 6.

    This is all a ploy to make the Eurovision voting look respectable in comparison.

  • Comment number 7.

    Should David Bond have entered into doing some journalistic research on the previous World Cup bid reports, the eventual voting outcome and the award of the World Cup to the hosts, he would have been able to give this blog some credibility.

    Bid reports are one thing voting for the host is another - as an example; who had the best bid report for the 1998 World Cup (France, Morocco or Switzerland) and the eventual hosts France.

  • Comment number 8.

    I do agree with tj at #4.

    I also think that considering that every World Cup since France 1998, FIFA has suggested that the countries have been high risk, that they may chose to go down the easy route and select England or Spain/Portugal, both of whom already have much of the infrastructure in place - So much so that either potential hosts could have stepped in had South Africa not have been ready to start this years competition.

    OK, so FIFA have concerns about top class hotels. However, a majority of people going to watch matches across the world, will not consider high end cost hotels to be a concern. In fact, it's likely they'll want more LOWER cost hotels.

    The other item to consider is where the World Cup would generate the most revenue and interest. There's little doubt that the English and Spain/Portugal bid would be hugely attractive from a commercial sense due to both countries heritage. One thing that could tip this in England's favour though is that it was only 1982 since Spain, albeit rather succesfully, hosted a World Cup.

    Hopefully Fifa have learnt from their mistake of awarding the last World Cup to an unstable nation who could only half fill stadiums for most of the first two weeks and award it to one of the western European countries.

  • Comment number 9.

    The Private Eye should take a leaf out of the German satirical magazine Titanic who faxed the FIFA delegates on the eve of the voting for the 2006 World Cup, promising a Cuckoo Clock and Black Forest Ham in exchange for their votes for Germany.

    One of the delegates argued after Germany won by one vote, that the pressure from all sides including "an attempt to bribe" him had become too much for him.

    Suggested offer from Private Eye may include;

    A British Leyland Maxi and Fish, Chips and Mushy Peas wrapped up in the Sunday Times Newspaper.

  • Comment number 10.

    The bid reports will have no significant impact on the vote decision, nor were they ever going to unless a major issue had been flagged for any of the bidders. The bid reports are a necessary due diligence exercise to check the boxes on a number of key areas that FIFA from experience have found to be critical to the successful and safe running of a World Cup tournament. In reality the chances of any of the 4 bidders having major show-stopping issues at this stage are very small since any country embarking upon a World Cup bid process know what these potential issue areas are and will focus on these areas early on to make sure there are no problems. What ends up getting reported in the inspection reports is the "noise" of the natural variation between the bidders in things like the number of hotel rooms and the number of trains and buses running per hour in the proposed tournament cities. What also gets flagged are things that were known about beforehand anyway and that - in reality - have never actually been showstoppers. Did we really need the report to tell us that getting luxury hotel rooms in Britain was going to be a problem? Or that Russia has still to build most of it's stadiums? Is it a surprise that joint bids like Spain/Portugal require more coordination?

    In my opinion the World Cup vote will come to philosophy. The philosophy of what the Executive Committee want the 2018 World Cup to represent. What do I mean? Well, the philosophy of the 2010 World Cup was legacy-driven around the role that football could play in the continuing journey of a healing post-apartheid nation. The philosophy behind the 2014 award was simple - a clear, unambiguous and some would say overdue recognition of Brazil's status as the greatest and highest achieving footballing nation ever. So what about 2018? Is it a legacy-based philosophy again about bringing football to a new country for the first time? If it is then Russia have to REALLY mess it up not to win the bid. And nothing in the inspection reports on Russia can be classified as a mess-up to me. Or is the 2018 philosophy about creating a global football development infrastructure? England might have a chance there with David Beckham's promise of worldwide soccer clinics for the world's youth.

    Once the Executive Committe has made its philosophy decision (and this may or may not have already been done, I suspect by now it has) the inspection results will play no part unless as I said before any major issues surface. This has not happened based on the report released yesterday. In terms of the report on the technical bids being used to justify the bid decision I would say they are likely to be used to "gloss up" the philosophical one. For example if Russia are awarded 2018 based on philosophy/legacy then there will likely be statement to the effect of "the committee is confident that Russia will satisfactorily address all factors relating to a successful and safe World Cup, blah blah..." And what about the ethics committee investigations? I hate to say it, but again this will end up being noise. An internal investigative committee operating in a secret ballot environment is as likely to endanger it's philosophically grounded game plan as Capello is to call me up for the France game today. So whatever decision they reach will be one that still facilitates the decision they want "being made". So does that mean if Spain/Portugal were never going to be picked based upon philosophy that they might be kicked out of the bid process this week? Possibly. But that would also depend upon whether Qatar figured in FIFA's 2022 philosophical plans...

    Well, I'm off to read the inspection reports...NOT

  • Comment number 11.

    What is the difference between the alleged collusion between England and USA and the alleged collusion between Spain/Portugal and Qatar?

    Spain/Portugal is a spanish bid with a few games played in the more than adequate protuguese stadiums in major cities to increase revenue - far better that trying to justify playing at places like Plymouth!

  • Comment number 12.

    What alledged collusion between USA and England Jogador? First I have heard of any evidence?

  • Comment number 13.

    Re : 12

    I say alleged beacause in both cases there is no evidence! Why did USA agree to withdraw from the 2018 bidding?

  • Comment number 14.

    I believe it was because FIFA were deemed to be favouring a European bid, All the non European nations dropped their 2018 bids, the European nations responded by dropping their 2022 bids...It was all done out in the open, this was I am told, a gentlemens agreement between all the bidding nations not just between England/USA

  • Comment number 15.

    Are there any gentlemen left in football adminstration/power?

  • Comment number 16.

    Jogadur, have you been following any of this!?!? FIFA said 2018 was going to Europe, so why would USA stay in the bid! Likewise if it MUST go to Europe in 2018 then in 2022 it MUST go to another continent, so England MUST pull out of 2022. So yeah, its TOTALLY different from Spain-Qatar who have sold their votes to each other. What evidence is there? Well theres the note they passed between themselves saying that they were going to win, for starters. Everyone knows they are in collusion, its the worst kept secret ever.

    England essentially have NO chance of a World Cup, because it has nothing to do with 'Fair Play'.... which is just like FIFA then.

  • Comment number 17.

    Oh and FIFA saying Russia has good hotels had me cracking up. One of the worst countries in the WORLD for hotels - ive visited 75 countries and Russia rates in the top5 for most overpriced, with terrible standards, and customer service. Saying Russia is a low risk bid is essentially saying Russia has won. I mean, they have NO stadia, NO roads, NO hotels, NO infrastructure, and yet they are low risk hahaha. Just brilliant FIFA, just brilliant. Yet developed nations like Holland/Belgium are medium risk. Utterly shocking.

  • Comment number 18.

    FIFA must be the most manipulative organization on the planet. On one hand they demand that football is a common game played strictly to their rules everywhere in the world and they promote it as bringing all the people of the world together as one big sporting family competing without favor or prejudice on a level playing field.
    Yet they also actively promote division, back biting and corruption that is a situation they exploit during the process they adopt to award World Cup's.
    Only when the "powerful" associations stop fuelling this charade and refuse to bid for world cups will the system change.
    It makes me cringe the way various FA's and even governments prostitute themselves to gain favor with Blatter and his cronies.
    If any of them had any pride they would simply say - "World Cup. No thanks'".

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    The FIFA 'backlash' is because they were caught with their snouts in the trough, and they don't like it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Re: 19. At 2:21pm on 17 Nov 2010, Kapnag wrote:
    If Euro '96 is anything to go by, I don't know why people want the world cup here.

    * more dickheads at football
    * 90% of games not even half full
    * over-commercialism and unrelenting hype
    * england still go out after group stage
    In reply to your comments I was fortunate to get tickets for euro '96 for the Germany v Czech Rep group game at Old Trafford. In that case I recall the stadium was 2/3rds full(37,500 crowd out of then capacity of 55,000 and the atmosphere was great even for a neutral (being english but supporting the czechs on that particular day). By the way check your stats... the lowest attndence at euro 96 was 21,000 out of a capacity of 42,000 for Czech Republic v Russia at anfield and all games had at least half of capacity crowd. Also I recall that hooliganism which eveyone feared before the tournament was minimal and as for your final comment... didn't england reach the semi-final and in doing so lifted the mood of the nation for those 3 weeks?!

  • Comment number 22.

    rayransley, are you trying to tell me I imagined rows upon rows of empty seats at all the stadiums, newspaper articles about how only England and Scotland games were close to selling out?

    And 18,500 empty seats is still a significant number.

    Oh at least half eh? What a success!

  • Comment number 23.

    @ #4

    I think you're getting your priorities mixed up mate. The question is why should FIFA care about the actions of a free press? Should we make the press less free in order to appease FIFA? If accusations are made in the Panaroma program for which there isn't the evidence then FIFA can sue, can't they?

    On a completely different note, who actually cares where the World Cup's held? I think it would be fun to see it in Russia. We've already had it once, why shouldn't they have a go? Besides which we've already got one of the top leagues in the world and British people can see some of the world's best players week in week out. Give someone else a chance.

    But let's also make these decisions transparent, let's have more of these FIFA exposes from the UK press, keep them going until they either clean up their act or World leaders will nolonger agree to be seen with Blatter and his ilk.

  • Comment number 24.

    A good blog! I don't see how the 'lack of luxury hotel rooms' is a major problems. South Africa and Brazil have won the past two bids and I'm sure we can compete with these two on the 'luxury hotel room' front.

    An equally interesting topic is would England stand more of a chance if they did host the World Cup? I read a good blog post recently looking at does the current england team lack talent ...

    It would be interesting to see if this 'talent' had a better chance of winning the world cup on home soil!

  • Comment number 25.

    23. Will, we haven't a World Cup in England for 44 (it will be over half a century once we reach 2018) years, and we've got the perfect infrastructure for it and this is a real sports/football country.

    Mexico had it in 1970 and 1986, Germany had it in 1974 and 2006, Spain had it in 1982, France and Italy have had it since 1990. It's very wrong that England have had to wait so long to host it again (and maybe even longer)

  • Comment number 26.

    At the end of the day, these World Cup bid reports will cost England's chances of hosting the 2018 World Cup!

    The English media are mainly against England's bid to host the 2018 world cup for whatever reasons are unknown. England need to first sort out the media and bring in regulations to control what the media write about England's World Cup bid.

    England should win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup but with these allegations, it doesn't look likely England will win bid to host the 2018 World Cup!

  • Comment number 27.

    Is FIFA really any more corrupt than councils all over Britain where contracts and tenders are awarded in much the same way as World Cups.

    We only complain about corruption in this country when we're losing out because of it.

  • Comment number 28.

    Panorama must show their program at a time of their choosing.
    To do otherwise is to pander to FIFA. We have a free press. If Panorama have something worth showing they need to do it now. FIFA decision be damned.

  • Comment number 29.

    FIFA can stick it as far as I am concerned. Host the World Cup where they like.

    I hate the thought that we are trying to garner support from anonymous corrupted men in suits.

    The further away Football is from leeches and their political ilk the better.

    Unfortunately, the game I love is big money. And that attracts a disgusting breed of human being.

  • Comment number 30.

    England need to first sort out the media and bring in regulations to control what the media write about England's World Cup bid.


    haha, this isn't a dictatorship. The media just have to stop trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator

  • Comment number 31.

    i have no idea why we are going through this process, Fifa will not give us the World Cup because we are English. They know we will give them the best games ever, our stadiums are better than Spain, Russia and Portugal and yet they seem intent on giving the cup to other countries. Since 1966 Germany have held it twice as have Mexico and Spain once, so it must be our turn !! If we do don't get it this time i would not waste out time on this process, Fifa are not interested in the best country they have other things that they need.

  • Comment number 32.

    Our media are doing a very good job of killing our 2018 bid. Fifa and Uefa officials blatantly dislike the English game and our media just gives them another reason to why its justified.

    I have come to the realisation that England wont win the bid, but from listening to the snippets from these reports and from analyzing the bids as best I can, surely we deserve it. If hotels and training facilities are the only major issues are bid must be pretty impressive. These are issues that surely the World Cup bid committee, the FA and the government can easily put right, especially given the fact the World Cup is eight years away.

  • Comment number 33.

    27. At 3:52pm on 17 Nov 2010, SleepingSpurs wrote:
    'Is FIFA really any more corrupt than councils all over Britain where contracts and tenders are awarded in much the same way as World Cups.

    We only complain about corruption in this country when we're losing out because of it.'

    I think that must people understand that corruption is widespread, including in the UK. I think what most people feel aggrieved about is that Englands bid did not start on the same level playing field as Spain/Portugal & Russia, for the simple reason that Fifa hate the Premier League, and I think our country in general.

  • Comment number 34.

    "Australia is bidding to become the first Oceania country to host a World Cup, while Japan and South Korea are hoping to host the tournament on an individual basis after jointly staging the 2002 event.
    The concern over their three bids is the level of revenue.
    "There is a risk of reduction in TV income from Europe," said Fifa. "The income from Asia/Oceania would need to be increased substantially to offset the likelihood of loss of revenue in Europe."
    This is directly taken from the BBC news item.
    Am I missing something here. I thought the World Cup was about Football as a game and spectacle? The wording above seems to point to "Football be damned, let FIFA rake in the money!"
    Many people have written in opining theat FIFA as an organisation is corrupt. This seems to confirm that fact!

  • Comment number 35.

    I for one support the F.A's bid to bring the World Cup back to England. I have a son who would be 10 years old by 2018 and I would love nothing more than to share the experience with him.

    On a lighter note, didn't we invent the sport in the first place so why let Sepp Blatter and his goons control world football? I think it's time to take our metaphorical ball home, we're not playing any more!

  • Comment number 36.

    @#25 - Mexico got it in 1986 because Columbia had pulled out/taken away from them at the last minute hadnt they? Didn't West Germany have it 1974? Maybe as a unified nation is was a good idea they had another crack. Portugal have never had it and the only way they will is with Spain it would seem. Russia have never had it either.
    It would be great to have the World Cup here - but I dont think its very wrong we haven't had it again since 66, and dont think it would be if we dont have it in 2018....if the winner is selected for the right reason...

    Anyway England fans can hardly get deported from their own country can they? (joke!)

  • Comment number 37.

    The bookies seem to have Russia and England almost neck and neck with Spain/Portugal a distant third. I'm not English but hope England win it. It would be a terrible indictment on FIFA if the fact that an English newspaper's attempt to uncover corruption was the cause of England's loss. The bid should be awarded on the basis of who can hold the best tournament and best promote football not as payback for daring to look behind the curtain.

  • Comment number 38.

    This whole sorry affair smacks of an attitude of England dragging others down rather than improving their own bid. If the Panorama program makes more claims of collusion and corruption, it will backfire on the English football hierarchy as it will make them appear to want to win by running a propaganda war. That would be seen as the last resort of the desperate.

  • Comment number 39.

    36. At 4:55pm on 17 Nov 2010, Yorkieyra wrote:

    @#25 - Mexico got it in 1986 because Columbia had pulled out/taken away from them at the last minute hadnt they? Didn't West Germany have it 1974? Maybe as a unified nation is was a good idea they had another crack. Portugal have never had it and the only way they will is with Spain it would seem. Russia have never had it either.
    It would be great to have the World Cup here - but I dont think its very wrong we haven't had it again since 66, and dont think it would be if we dont have it in 2018....if the winner is selected for the right reason...


    I think the fact that 'West' Germany got in 1974 and Germany hosted in 2006 is irrelevant. How many stadiums from the old East Germany were used in 2006? I doubt that there were many.

    You say Russia deserve a go - well I hope fans and media enjoy that trip from St Petersburg to Kazan if they have to make it.

    England is a special football country and has the stadiums, infrastructure, climate and geography to host a proper World Cup. England is also one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world. Unfortunately there is a lot of jealousy about our country and the life people are allowed to live here, and giving us a World Cup is, in the eyes of some, giving a spoilt child an expensive toy at Christmas. However, I think it's deeply unfair that we are ignored and that there is an obvious agenda against us.

  • Comment number 40.


  • Comment number 41.

    Panorama MUST show their findings before the vote. If they are findings of out right corruption, the world must see this before the vote. Initially I loathed to see the press interference, and the Mail on Sunday with their entrapment, but now it seems that if FIFA and the other bidding nations are up to something, they must be exposed for it.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ #39. I didnt say Russia deserved it at all, I said they haven't hosted it - If someone feels its VERY WRONG that a county has only had it once in 44 yrs, Im sure those in Russia, Portugul, Belgium or Holland (apologies not sure if they have hosted) feel its wrong they have never had it all.

  • Comment number 43.

    The media reaction in Spain has been that the Spain/Portugal bid has fared better than any of the other proposals.

    I wonder what reading the report has been given in other bidding countries.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ 25 & 39

    But who actually cares if we host it or not? What would having it here mean to most football fans? I know I care about my club far more than I do so called Team England.

    And anyway, I like watching football on grainy TVs with dodgy sound. I'd love to see a World Cup in Russia.

    I don't understand why everyone's geting there knickers in a twist about staging it. Playing in it... maybe. Winning it... definitely. But hosting it... does anyone really care?

  • Comment number 45.

    Spain/Portugal is a spanish bid with a few games played in the more than adequate protuguese stadiums in major cities to increase revenue - far better that trying to justify playing at places like Plymouth!

    Why not play in a city like Plymouth? A city like plymouth would massivly benefit from the world cup group games beig staged there, the revenue it would generate,the new jobs, infrustruture, all needed to help turn this city back into a major player in the UK,without this great oppartunity fot the city of plymouth the city will die a slow and painfull death.

  • Comment number 46.

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

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    BBC please dont make the biggest mistake you will ever make and show this panorama episode. WAIT until after the decision is made. Does not make any sense and I am sorry to say but you will lose one viewer if you do make the decision to show it.

  • Comment number 49.


    GOOD POINTS: Transport, stadia, IT, security, marketing, legacy
    BAD POINTS: Media

  • Comment number 50.

    It's a disgrace but what do you expect from this shower. If it was Wales or Scotland you would never show it, because it's England the BBC don't care.

    A isgrace, every English tax payer should refuce to pay their licence fee, more money raised from England than anyother country

  • Comment number 51.

    I will be so so ashamed and dissapointed if the BBC show this documentary. To say that it is "in the public interest" is absurd!. What is in the public interest is winning the vote to host the world cup.

    For crying out loud, the whole nation should be pulling together to make this happen, because you can guarentee thats what the other bidders are doing.

    The Times publishing their story and the BBC now going ahead with this is just showing that certain organisations are out for themseleves alone, and dont give two hoots about what the public want. What is wrong with showing the documentry after the votes have been cast? - The only reason to show it now is for sentaionalism and to benefit the BBC.

    Do individuals at the BBC not want the country to win this vote? I can tell them this - more people want it than not.

    The BBC is funded out of the viewers back pocket and as such it should act in their interest, which is clearly to postpone this screening.

    Get a grip BBC. If you go ahead with this, you are a disgrace.

  • Comment number 52.

    Question: should FIFA be allowed to force people to not publish 'nasty' things about themselves, does this make them too powerful. Either you panda to them or you don't get the World Cup - great ethics there.

    We all know that the media act as pseudo-terrorists playing on our prejudices and fears to get an angle on it, however if FIFA have already decided that we are not getting the World Cup and not judging the bid on its merit, then the program will make little difference.

  • Comment number 53.

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

  • Comment number 54.

    It's astonishing how eager so many here seem to be muzzle the press for the sake of a few football games that England's bid never really stood a chance of winning in the first place. If you think some Panorama broadcast is really going to make a difference you haven't been paying attention to FIFA's decision making process over the last few years.

  • Comment number 55.

    For the US in 2022, I don't think it matters with the bid report- we have the stadiums already built, we have the hotels and infrastructure, and a World Cup in US prime-time would give FIFA a large increase in the rights fees for North America. Qatar is a non-issue; the main question is this: If they want to build the "legacy of the game", Australia is the choice. If they want to maximize revenues, the US is the choice.

  • Comment number 56.

    It is about time the BBC admit it has made a mistake and delay the Panorama programme. You don't run an expose about the army just before the country goes to war and you don't run an expose on the Arch Bishop of Canterbury the week before Xmas.

    The BBC has got to realise there is a valid public interest why the programme should be delayed a week and has a responsibility for the income, jobs and enjoyment a World Cup in England will bring if we are successful.

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    England's obscene courting of Jack Warner means that it does not deserve to host any world cup.

  • Comment number 59.

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

  • Comment number 60.

    The BBC and the Mail, quite an unlikely partnership that have united to destroy this once in a lifetime chance to bring the world cup home.

  • Comment number 61.

    The proposed Panorama programme will not make it more likely that England will win the 2018 bid; it can only have no effect or make it less likely. The bidding may be tight; one vote could swing it - but the BBC in it's usual arrogant, non-listening, bumbling way thinks it knows best. Well you don't. It will be an outrage if this programme is shown before the vote and we fail to get the World Cup here in my lifetime. The people of Liverpool stopped buying the Sun after it's Hillsborough article; a great many footballing fans of the nation will stop paying their licence fees if the BBC scuppers the bid. You've been warned.

  • Comment number 62.


    You also paranoid! For the record, id bet anyone with objectivity, english or not, would says Germanies football and transport infrastructure trumps even Englands. its is alos football mad and is equally as diverse at least, with its position at the heart of Europe.

    Also, who on earth is jelous of us? Large swathes of western Europe enjoy a higher standard of living than us here, as does north america and japan/south korea

    We aint as important as you think and poeple aint as jelous as you imagine, if at all.

  • Comment number 63.

    The chance to host the World Cup does not come often. The BBC must be more mature and understand that it's not worth damaging such a bid.

  • Comment number 64.


    Good points: transport, stadia, IT, security, marketing, legacy

    Bad points: free press

    Yep, that cardinal sin surely outweighs all the positive aspects of our bid. Top reasoning, FIFA.

  • Comment number 65.

    First of all, I am not English and even though there are a few things I despise about England (like their tabloids), this episode of corruption allegations of the Sunday Times against FIFA, I fully support (however curious their timing may be on this).

    I think it displays a great deal of courage to air this Panorama programme amidst all the World Cup bidding euphoria. I give a lot of credit to the BBC for doing this, not because I think its a good thing that it will damage the hopes of hosting the World Cup in England, but simply that they are doing the right thing. Its time to expose FIFA for what they really are, and what they really represent whilst they hide behind these corny Fair Play and Kick Out Racism slogans to appease and pacify the masses.

    The Sunday Times revelations has damaged England's prospects of hosting the World Cup, so everyone says. If thats the case, then the bidding process is in itself flawed. Its not so much the credentials of the bidding countries that count, its more of a case of "are you a friend or foe" of FIFA and its clear which side on the fence England are sitting on. In any case, its simply childish, unprofessional and laughable way of going about doing your business. England and Russia should be judged purely by their own merits, not whether they are a political ally of FIFA or not. Its sad to see that FIFA owns football! Its time for the consumers and the media to take a stand on this.

    THUMBS UP BBC! You are the only news programme I watch. KEEP IT UP!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    The only thing about the Panorama programme anyone has any right to question is its timing. It does look deliberately provocative. But I worry about a position where the head of our bid team effectively has to apologise for our country's free press and request that a broadcaster modfiy its output so as not to offend FIFA's sensibilities.

    On top of this, I read a vomit-inducing statement made to FIFA the other day, saying that 'It has been a difficult time for Fifa and as a member of the football family we naturally feel solidarity with you and your colleagues'. Utter rubbish. I feel no solidarity with FIFA and neither should any self-respecting football fan. The reason it has been a difficult time for FIFA is because it is represented by individuals who, to say the least, found themselves in compromising situations while on camera. That is entirely self-induced: no sympathy whatsoever from me.

    That organisation is all about greed and nothing to do wih love for the game. It's a terrible shame that it wields so much power and that countries feel compelled to prostrate themselves before Sepp Blatter and co.

    Yes, I would love to see the World Cup in this country. However, I am not going to blame our press for exposing FIFA's highly questionable practices; instead I would prefer to focus on the reason that such investigations took place. There is no smoke without fire. The Times and the BBC would have no articles to write or programmes to make on the matter if there were not some evidence.

  • Comment number 67.

    The BBC is not the English Broadcasting Corporation, so how can it be unpatriotic to broadcast a programme that may or may not be harmful to an English bid? Are the FIFA delegates likely to be at such a loose end one week before voting that they will have a quiet night in watching Panorama? Perhaps its all an evil plot by a tartan tendency at Broadcasting House intent on spoiling England's only realistic opportunity to win the tournament.

  • Comment number 68.

    It may not be the 'English Broadcasting Corporation' but as the British Broadcasting Corporation it represents all 'home'/British nations so the timing (NOT the expose itself) could be called unpatriotic. If it did something similar before a Scottish bid I'm sure many Scots would feel the same, and can only imagine the comments about the 'London-based BBC'.

  • Comment number 69.

    One_Lars_Melvang, what on earth are you talking about? On what grounds do you say that FIFA is all about greed and nothing to do with the love of the game. Why do people mindlessly repeat such rubbish in these forums. The standard of debate is so poor. FIFA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars helping just about every country around the world establish headquarters for the national associations, lay pitches, create training facilities, put on coaching and refereeing courses. Many countries can now organise and play football in much better conditions and to a better standard thanks to FIFA. Where's the corruption in that. Who cares if Blatter and co travel first class and stay in 5-star hotels. Big deal!

    Come on lets talk facts and not the drivel that is being spouted here...

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    Please show the programme; can't think of anything worse that could happen in my lifetime than the world cup being held in England. All it will do is inspire a new generation of WAGS and kids into divorcing their brains and follwing this nasty business that mascerades as a sport and idolising total morons. All we will hear about for the next 8 years will be football this and football that in the media, and it will be even more over-represented in the media than it is now.

    Go Spain/Portugal; at least they can actually perform on a world stage

  • Comment number 72.

    Gagged by the BBC. Oh, the irony.

    Zero chance of getting feedback as to why.

  • Comment number 73.

    Coming from north of the border I think that I can take an objective view of a tournament that will not involve Scotland (probably for many years to come). England without doubt have stadia that compare with the very best in the world. The transport infrastructure that has been doubted probably carry- from day to day- many more passengers than most places on earth so there would appear to be some "scaremongering" going on.There must be at least 20 facilities for training which in many cases will be better than some international teams taking part have in their own countries. Any difficulties as far as transport,security and IT will all have been ironed out well before the Olympics in 2012 and there will be a legacy left that should guarantee more major events like perhaps ENGLAND 2018.

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    Let me get this right, because I'm more than a little confused:
    England might fail to win a world cup bid because of the possibility of a BBC programme Panorama broadcasting material that uncovers corruption in FIFA's ranks?

    Will the truth matter?

  • Comment number 76.

    69. Guidomann

    Each and every time I try to debate FIFA's practices on BBC forums I fall foul of the moderators. I apologise if it sounds like a cop out (I'm aware it does...) but I'm not going to risk getting banned by saying much more.

    What I will say however, and even the trigger-happy BBC should surely allow me to say it, is that if you have not yet seen the footage obtained by The Times then I recommend you do.

    Further, if you have time I would also suggest that you look at the investigative work undertaken by Andrew Jennings.

  • Comment number 77.

    However, any moral high ground that the FA sees itself occupying will need to have sufficient enough room for the FA's new chum Mr Warner to sit alongside.

  • Comment number 78.

    Didn't one of Murdoch's rags do an expose on the English bid?
    Course they wouldn't call him and his coterie of gutter so called patriotic rags traitorous would they.

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    I would urge the controller of bbc1 to weigh carefully the interests of the hundreds of thousands of individuals in this country who are likely to benefit from employment opportunities that the world cup coming to these shores would bring against the short term ratings uplift from screening their proposed panorama program. Surely it is not worth jeopardizing the outcome of the vote by pouring petrol on hot coals at such a sensitive time simply to promote the programs producers self interests?

  • Comment number 81.

    I reckon a lot of folk on this thread must be living in some kind of bizarre parallel universe.

    Our country - and indeed western Europe as a whole - is hovering pretty close to the financial abyss right now.

    It is frankly incredible that we're still seriously thinking of staging a World Cup. It is one of the worst things that could happen, and there are far, far more urgent priorities for tax money to be spent on right now.

    At a time when the basics of our economy are being cut back to the bone and beyond, can anyone seriously believe it's a good idea to plough hundreds of millions into a World Cup whose (dubious) financial benefits won't be seen for another eight years? Dumbstruck by the stupidity of this idea.

  • Comment number 82.

    Gagged x2.

    For the record, I think FIFA is right up there with UNHCR as a good in our society, and they have football's best interests at heart, and are in no way affected by men in suits from marketing etc etc.

    Gag that.

  • Comment number 83.

    desertwalker and One_Lars_Melvang... I have read Andrew Jennings and his work and his investigation of the IOC was much better than his work on FIFA. I suspect he might be the focus of the Panorama programme in which case FIFA have nothing to worry about. If you saw the last FIFA Panorama he did, it was joke. People need to try to be objective about FIFA. I'm just trying to put the other side of the story - something that no-one in this country seems prepared to do.

    As to the current case, let's see what the ethics committee says about the two exco members but I would say that there is a difference between entrapment that causes a crime and entrapment that exposes a crime. The Sunday Times used the former, a tactic which is actually illegal in many countries. I for one don't think it is particularly good journalism and I'm not alone in that.

  • Comment number 84.

    Is it unpatriotic to expose cheating?

  • Comment number 85.

    "When good men do nothing" is what the FA appears to wish will happen here - We all know the result of that! Don't we?

  • Comment number 86.

    Unpatriotic is a little bit of a daft phrase to use in my opinion. However to air an 'expose' type of programme at this point (which would probably get a similar number of viewers if it were broadcast a week, month or year later as FIFA is hardly going to become clean overnight) is just asking for trouble and is hardly supportive of a bid which if successful could bring a degree of financial and social gain.

    I don't pay my licence fee so that the BBC needlessly can stick a spanner in the works

  • Comment number 87. fact, as protest is now fashionable again maybe i'll stop paying my licence fee :)

  • Comment number 88.

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

  • Comment number 89.

    ComeEnglandAway, you may joke about FIFA being a force for good in our country, but take a look at Haiti. Over 30 people involved with football were killed in the earthquake there, including referees and coaches who were at a meeting in the FA headquarters when the building collapsed on them. FIFA is paying for the reconstruction of the headquarters and much else more, so I guess in Haiti you could say that FIFA is a force for good.

    The thing is, there are hundreds more examples around the world where FIFA has made a difference to football. I have travelled extensively in Africa and have seen the facilities that have been built there with FIFA money. Just to see the young kids enjoying facilities that ten years ago they would never have dreamed of is a really good news story (but we don't like good news stories in this country do we).

    FIFA gives an annual grant to every country which in some of the poorer nations mean that a national team is able to get together and organise matches at every age level. Take Liberia, for instance. During the 1990s the Liberian national team was only able to play matches due to the fact that George Weah paid for everything. Nowadays - and thanks to FIFA - every single country in the world is able to enter the World Cup or their continental championship. Now that may not seem important to you, but to many football fans around the world, just being able to watch their national team - however bad they are - is not something that we should sneer at.

  • Comment number 90.

    They're necessary but insufficient.

    If the book's no good, you lose.

    But the book can be great and if you get the politics wrong, you lose.

    Enlgand won't lose because of the book, that's for sure.

  • Comment number 91.

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

  • Comment number 92.

    Interesting. I live in Spain. Over the last three years I have not heard one Spanish friend even mention the Spain/Portugal bid at all. In fact there is very little interest in the cultural idea of the world cup and it's romantic history (The last three competitions have not even been shown fully on free-to-air TV here) despite their win this year.
    It has been almost impossible to find newspaper articles mentioning them as even being in the bidding for 2018, and even today "El Pais" was so saying that England were bidding for both the 2018 and 2022 cups. Most people didn't know they had a bid until this week when they've started running news stories about them having the "best rating" from FIFA.
    And suddenly everyone just "knows" that they're gonna get it. And that Qatar will get 2012.

  • Comment number 93.

    4. At 12:35pm on 17 Nov 2010, tj wrote:
    The BBC MUST MUST MUST not show the Panorama episode at least until the vote for 2018 is done and dusted. Come on can the media for once help and support this country!

    Perhaps someone coud explain exactly how saddleing the country with even more costs is supporting it.

    It's only a game ehen all is said and done, and well over half the population couldn't care lessabout it.

    Surely there are far more important things to worry about.

  • Comment number 94.

    BBC- Unpatriotic ? If the BBC's current set up with its political correctness and positive discrimination was around between 1939-1945. They would of had a special correspondent in Berlin giving the Nazi's point of view. The BBC is not even as much British, as British Airways,BP, and they are multi international companies. Dont ever think the BBC is going to stand up for anything to do with the United Kingdom. Tonight on one of their news programmes they were showing excerpts from a banned blog about how to take on the police in demonstrations!

  • Comment number 95.

    The country is bankrupt people have no jobs, we have no money to run public services. the olympics in 2012 is going to drag us down deeper into a hole by the time the 'organisers' have finished 'organising'
    we really need the 2018 football! sheesh!

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • Comment number 97.

    89. Guidomann

    As I read it, and forgive me if I'm wrong, much of what you're saying is, effectively, that the ends justify the means in the case of FIFA.

    I'm not disputing that FIFA plays an active role in LEDCs (although neither can I say with certainty that it does, but I'm perfectly prepared to take your word for it). What I take exception to, however, is the ludicrous oversensitivity of its members when the free press subjects the organisation to scrutiny. This latest investigation is a classic case in point. Upon having extremely serious and seemingly provable allegations made against it by a newspaper, it lashes out against the country where that newspaper is based. Its members start lamenting subterfuge on the part of the press and refer to the consequences for the English bid, all the while failing to accept FIFA's shortcomings.

    Whether or not FIFA does good is, for me, tangential. What is being discussed here is the behaviour of FIFA officials and the backlash against England for having the temerity to have a free press. Neither can be condoned.

  • Comment number 98.

    If you want the final played at a neutral venue, it has to be England.

  • Comment number 99.

    1) I honestly cannot believe the transport infrastructure is being looked upon favourably by FIFA;

    2) Unpatriotic is a dirty word, it implies people don't have a right to an opinion on the place they were born in or reside in.

  • Comment number 100.

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


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