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England with it all to do

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David Bond | 12:47 UK time, Thursday, 4 November 2010

Four weeks from today, Fifa president Sepp Blatter will open an envelope in Zurich and reveal the name of the country chosen to host the World Cup in 2018.

Until the recent Sunday Times Insight investigation England might have fancied their chances of being the name inside that envelope. But the admission today from a senior member of the bid team that they have been "significantly harmed" by a backlash from Fifa reflects a growing sense of despondency at the FA.

Many people will be bemused and perhaps even angry that the media could influence the outcome of such an important election.

Fifa has itself given legitimacy to the Sunday Times story by suspending the two members of its executive committee at the centre of the expose - Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii.

Both deny the claims that they asked undercover reporters posing as American lobbyists supporting the USA's bid for 2022 for money for football projects in return for their support. They face a Fifa ethics investigation later this month.

At first it seemed there would be no backlash against the bid. Chuck Blazer, America's member of the Fifa executive committee, said so himself in the days immediately after the Sunday Times published its first story.

But it now seems the reverse is true.

Although the two Fifa executive committee members appear to have a case to answer, their colleagues on the committee are believed to be deeply uncomfortable at what they see as an English media campaign against them.

They feel they are being persecuted, one source told me. They simply cannot understand undercover investigative methods. In many of the countries represented on the executive committee undercover filming by journalists is seen as illegal entrapment.

And the prospect of seven years of scrutiny by the British media fills many of the Fifa members with dread.

A man is silhouetted as he makes his way past the main entrance of FIFA headquarters

All eyes will be on Fifa's headquarters in Zurich when the 2018 hosts are revealed. Photo: Getty

Blatter, no stranger to the searing spotlight of the press in this country, questioned the methods of the English media last Friday. Meanwhile the head of the Asian Football Confederation and Fifa vice president Mohamed Bin Hammam used his blog to attack the press.

He posed the question: "Is it ethical to use unethical methods to protect the ethic?"

Your answer to that philosophical question might well be no. You may think that some of the methods used by the English media are inappropriate. But whatever you think of them it seems hardly fair that England's bid should be judged by the actions of the media.

England 2018 cannot and should not control what newspapers and broadcasters do in a country with a proud tradition of a free press and investigative journalism.

The truth is that if England loses on 2 December it will have been for a whole series of reasons.

The departure of former chairman Lord Triesman (himself a victim of a newspaper story obtained by covert methods), the row over the handbags, FA instability, the misguided complaint against Russia in the last couple of weeks - all these things have played their part.

Every time England's campaign seemed to be going well it suffered a setback which undid all the good work it was doing in highlighting its case as the safe pair of hands for Fifa.

For a long time now Russia has looked like the candidate to beat. But now, thanks to a possible voting alliance with Qatar which is bididng for 2022, Spain's joint bid with Portugal is looking strong.

The Sunday Times stories plus a possible investigation by the BBC's Panorama programme offer handy excuses for both England 2018 and for Fifa for not giving the tournament to England.

So what can England do to repair the damage?

They can try and persuade Fifa that the media in Britain are on side. One idea being discussed is a letter from national newspapers and broadcasters to Fifa declaring their support. There are questions over the effectiveness of such an approach but the London 2012 Olympic bid did something similar following a Panorama investigation into the International Olympic Committee a year before the vote.

To win the contest one country needs a majority of 13 votes out of the 24 Fifa executive committee members. That could be reduced to 22 if Temarii and Adamu are still suspended at the time of the vote.

If it is true that Spain and Portugal have done a deal with Qatar (they are refusing to comment officially on the claims) then they have already got seven votes - three that come with Qatar plus Spain and three from South America.

The key to the election then is; where do the three votes from North and Central America and the Caribbean (Concacaf) go?

One Spanish bid official has already suggested an alliance is in place between England 2018 and USA 2022 and while this would break Fifa rules, if England could secure the support of Concacaf then they might still be in with a chance.

If they can then pick up the votes of Holland and Belgium - widely seen as the candidate most likely to be elminiated first - then they might be able to get into a third and final round of voting and hope that one of Spain/Portugal and Russia eliminates the other.

There is also a chance two key events in the next fortnight could allow them back into the race.

If Fifa's ethics committee takes a strong line against Adamu and Temarii and find there is an illegal alliance between Spain/Portugal and Qatar then the media backlash could fade. It is hardly a legitimate excuse if Fifa has itself taken strong action over the Sunday Times claims.

And, around the same time in mid November, the Fifa technical report is due to be published. It is expected each country will be assessed by risk and England has long marketed itself as the least risky option for Fifa.

If both those go well for England they might be able to perform another remarkable comeback. But it is looking an increasingly tall order.


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  • Comment number 3.

    The british tabloid media is an embarrassment, it's not journalism it's bullying, finger pointing and shameless lies... it's a disgrace.

  • Comment number 4.

    Sounds familiar doesn't it? English media ruining football for us again? They seem to be surprisingly good at that!!

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  • Comment number 6.

    Typicall English journalism, always looking for scandal to sell a paper. BUT if there is collusion between bidders then they should be brought to justice but at the end of the day the english governement have been doing bids and collusion for years so it's not surprising that others will follow. Lets not get carried away that it's anything to do with sport.

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  • Comment number 9.

    Agreed and you are right about FIFA

    That said well done to the Sunday Times for rattling their cage. Superb journalism.

  • Comment number 10.


    An English paper exposes questionable practices by FIFA (I'd phrase that differently, but I've fallen foul to the moderators before on this topic) and our bid suffers as a result. What fantastic reasoning.

    So, by that logic, the police should take against the victim of crime if someone associated with the victim uncovered the culprit's wrongdoing by stealth.

    It beggars belief. This isn't the school playground so telling tales is perfectly fair and, indeed, right, so long as the tales being told can be corroborated.

    That shambles of an organisation simply shouldn't be allowed such power.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well England can kiss 2018 goodbye. Blatter dislikes the English and hates its premier league financed muscle. Moronic journalists targetting members of the FIFA old boys club before the vote simply played into Blatter's hands and gave him the excuse he needed to influence the voters against the England bid. If they hadn't he would have found it harder to influence them without being called for his bias. I will be stunned if Englkand wins now. The journalists should have had more sense and saved their attacks for after the bid was won.
    Ah well, going to have to book flights to Russia or somewhere now.

  • Comment number 12.

    I feel sick to my stomach that once again the media are responsible for negative developments in English football. Having previously claimed the scalps of England managers (e.g. Hoddle, Eriksson, the Scolari debacle), captains (e.g. Terry), players (e.g. Beckham), they may now have cost us the entire 2018 World Cup tournament. And made a pile of short-term profits in the meantime, without considering the long-term social, economic and morale losses this causes. On principle I might just never pick up a newspaper again.

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  • Comment number 14.

    It's been 54 years now. You'd have to say that if FIFA decides to once again overlook the home of football for the world cup that the anti- English conspiracy theory will start to look increasingly credible.

  • Comment number 15.

    This is ridiculous. What has the UK press got to do with the England bid for the World Cup? This highlights the complete lack of any transparency and disclosure shown by FIFA, both historically and even more importantly now.

    The fact of the matter is that FIFA don't like anyone challenging them on anything. The fact that the UK press has forced FIFA to review its internal policies for awarding/voting on who should get tournaments is the point. The whole thing seems a bit like the Eurovision Song Contest - we know who is going to vote for whom even before the contest has begun!

    I thought that we were getting rid of unelected useless quangos?

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  • Comment number 17.


    As a starting point, isn't it odd that you blog about the issue as if it's ok to do so (which it is) and yet people's perfectly reasonable reservations about the whole nature of this issue are moderated? Hardly a right to reply is it.

    Anyway, you say that Spain and Portugal may have done a deal with Qatar but then say that an English/USA deal would be against the rules. What is the difference?

    Overall though, the whole process is surely farcical when the decisions for football, which is a game that no one owns, are so politicised rather than being based on reason and logic.

    England has not held the tournament in decades, has the facilities (stadia, infrastructure, security, fans etc) to hold it tomorrow and is open.


    I am tempted to say that do we really want it when the whole shebang seems to create so much hassle, but, heart rules over head. We should have the World Cup!

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  • Comment number 21.

    The methods or "tricks" employed by the sanctimonious British media to set up suspects are considered not only unethical but illegal in many countries. The journos only publish the result of their “uncover investigations” without disclosing the methods employed. Also the hysterical way the British media, including the BBC, pursue other countries organising these big events has become a hindrance.

  • Comment number 22.

    A lot of comments aren't being allowed through by the moderator... Censorship already beginning?

  • Comment number 23.

    Of course, if FIFA was squeaky clean then there would be nothing to investigate - but it is not. On any logical football basis, England should get the World Cup - but it won't, because too many people are willing to be complicit with FIFA in ensuring that money, not football, remains the principal focus. The way in which South Africa was forced to pass ludicrous laws to protect the 'brand' and the use of a ball, totally unsuitable for the game, to rake in the sponsorship cash are just two examples of why FIFA is unfit to govern the game.

  • Comment number 24.

    The British Media has embarassed FIFA, and they don't like it. Rather than say thank you for highlighting this, they're going to punish us. It's been 54 years since the home of football has hosted the tournament - which is a disgrace itself, but if we miss out this time, it'll be closer to 75 years - scandalous.
    The awarding of any major sporting event should be made transparent - with each and every voting country submitting a written justification for their vote. That's the only way we - the 3 billion people who watch football live / TV - can have faith in FIFA and their processes.

  • Comment number 25.

    The vast majority of the media in this country are scum (with the overall majority working for the rags)

    Whilst we have this type of mindset with them, and the moron's who buy these papers we dont deserve as a country to have these events held here.

  • Comment number 26.


    Incidentally, you say 'They feel they are being persecuted, one source told me'.

    Who is your source? Who is this person that wants you to do their bidding for them? They seem happy to use the media for these little leaks but when the media uses it's position for good, they don't like it!

  • Comment number 27.

    #10 - has hit the nail I'm afraid. What seems to be forgotten is that FIFA is an old boys club which has absolutely no interest or desire to modernise, become more egalitarian, transparent or ethical.

    It's an ultimately incestuous arrangement, where the fate of a global multi-billion pound industry is controlled by a team of meglomanical power-hungry jackasses.

    If there was nothing to hide, there'd be no concerns about investigative journalism of any kind.

    Looks like it's off to Russia for more of the same backhanders, brown envelopes etc.

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  • Comment number 29.

    Well of course the media have a right to publish this and shouldn't be condemned for that but timing is everything.

    On the letter idea, I think the editors et al should not only say that they support the bid, but that they will spend the next 7 years looking very closely at FIFA if it doesn't come to England. Just to make sure that they realise it will be the same whether England get it or not.

    But let's be honest England won't be getting it.

  • Comment number 30.

    #24 Breadman

    Completely agree. As I said at #17, no one 'owns' football and FIFA are merely trustees of the World Cup.

    Maybe we shouldn't bother turning up. (Although of course, on this years evidence, maybe we've already tried that!)

  • Comment number 31.

    Not sure why people are blaming the press. It's a free world and they are entitled to investigate whoever they please. The fact that FIFA appear to be punishing those in question would seem to back up the substance of the reports.

    Also the press do not represent the FA or its employees and ambassadors.

    Typical FIFA can't handle their power being questioned. They are an absolute disgrace and the sooner someone creates a breakaway (and democratic) organisation the better.

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  • Comment number 33.

    I always think we are on the right track when Sepp Blatter blusters. Forget the idea that the media are spoiling our chances. The simple fact is that FIFA don't like scrutiny, criticism or most importantly, the spotlight. Corruption is corruption, and it is part of the media's remit to expose double dealing and other shady practices. If the bid is scuppered because FIFA don't like the fact that our press is free from constraint, then that says it all about the organisation it is exposing, not the press. I would acknowledge that some of the media exceeds good taste and decency, but does no one remember Watergate? I bet the Nixon administration howled in similar 'outraged' protest.

  • Comment number 34.


    They don't have any hatred of England at all, there is only a section of the public in England that uses their 'imagined' dislike to their own anti-johnny foreigner ends, combined with their view that the world revolves around them.

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  • Comment number 37.

    The problem is simply that the British media has forgotten what patriotism and pride in country are all about. They don't care if England loses out on hosting the World Cup so long as their slimy underhand muckraking sells papers. They keep trotting out their hackneyed claim that "The British public has a right to know", when THEY know themselves that the British public doesn't give a damn because they have more important things to worry about.

  • Comment number 38.

    You forget another reason why FIFA are not seen as pro English.

    Our Frankie scored a "goal" which relit the technology torch, damn unsporting that Mr Lampard.

    I also seem to recall on the day earlier this year that technology was discussed and so called put to bed, at a press conference to announce it was dead as a dodo, someone mentioned that earlier on that day in a British league game someone had scored a goal that was over the line and not given !!!!!

    Us Brits really should be more thoughtful.

    What is the difference between John Higgins sting (suspended), the Pakistani cricketers sting (suspended) and a sting in football ? Who remembers Grobbelaar.

    I have no time for the British press, they are part of the reason why we have a garbage football team because they create "Gods" out of our useless lot. Trouble is there is copy in the antics of the likes of Rooney, there is not with the likes of Scholes BUT surely the point is this

    Those in charge should be doing all they can to weed out corruptive practices by making things such as bid processes more transparent. You produce a murky process with no clear lines, surely you invite this kind of journalism.

    What next ? Bank robbers complaining that CCTV footage used to capture them is immoral, it invades their human rights !!!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    Why the surprise, as to the ethics involved, from a press organisation that has a history of stings, nothing new .As for philosophy surely a moral issue of method. T he bigger question surely is both the competence of Fifa and its own ethics committee to police itself . Should be enough money swilling around to sue News corp if allegations are false.
    It would seem to be the case that Fifa is largely too unwieldy and self regarding to monitor itself , parallels with other sporting bodies are invited and other bodies in general. THERE no allegations easy really

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  • Comment number 41.

    Congratulations to the Daily Mail - Lord Triesman Sting
    Congratulations to the Sunday Times - Fifa bung Sting

    When is the media going to understand and appreciate that the English football public and fans would love to see the World Cup played on our shores again.

    This kind of derogatory journalism should have been put to one side until the completion of FIFA's voting

    Hold your heads in shame ..................... You have lost not only our Nations credibility but probably destroyed any opportunity of hosting the tournament and when the vote takes place and England fail to win the tournament, how about writing a piece on yourselves rather than look for every excuse under the sun of why England did not win the bid.

  • Comment number 42.

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  • Comment number 43.

    The British media has been too big for its boots for years. Everything now has to be controversial and if there is no controversy it is invented or inflammatory, emotional language is used which completely distorts the real situation.

    In my opinion, too many journalists on this site overdo the 'freedom of the press' angle and no longer seem content to relay facts and genuine information to the public accompanied by a reasoned, balanced, professional argument but rather set themselves up as judge and jury passing judgment over managers, players, officials with scant regard for the fact that these people are experienced professionals in their own right who shouldn't have to justify every action, thought and deed to the satisfaction of a mere journalist.

    The sports media thrives on hype (eg. Premier League being the best in the world we read time and time again. As a PR exercise it is brilliant but it is a FOOTBALL league and football statistics do not back up this argument at all). You write powerful, controversial, derogatory articles about people (the national coach or any manager is an excellent example)which enflames public opinion, tell everybody he's under pressure when it's only you who has the power to create such pressure but now you have the gall to say 'we're only the press why should what we say influence the vote'. How typical!! You're happy enough to conduct campaigns against individuals when it suits you but now it appears to be rebounding in your face you hide behind the good old 'freedom of the press' tag! I, for one, wouldn't blame FIFA for choosing to avoid the intrusive, holier-than-thou scrutiny of the British press

  • Comment number 44.

    You'd have to say that if FIFA decides to once again overlook the home of football for the world cup that the anti- English conspiracy theory will start to look increasingly credible.

    Do FIFA have conspiracies against other 'failed' bids as well?

    There is not a shred of credible evidence for any conspiracy against England by UEFA/FIFA.

    The problem with UEFA/FIFA is transparency and accountability, and it is this that breeds daft conspiracy theories.

  • Comment number 45.

    British Media is rubbish (including BBC). In EPL, they will be telling all good things about ManU or Arsenal and every thing will be anti-Chelsea. There will be all kind of argument in favour of ManU. The same rubbish media which have no influence outside UK is exposed.

  • Comment number 46.

    Go back a few years and you'll see the IOC acted properly when the BBC did an investigation like the Times'. No IOC members spoke out publically about "unethical practices" or the methods of the "English press", the member was thrown out of the IOC and London 2012 ultimately chosen. Even if London had lost to Paris, it wouldn't have been because of the BBC's Panorama investigation because the IOC simply did not hold that against the bid; they were able to seperate the journalism from the bid and not hold one responsible for the other's actions. The noises coming out of FIFA seem to imply very strongly the opposite and this to me is yet more proof that the people at the top do not know (nevermind want) to hold a transparent bidding process.

    In other words, FIFA have a choice as to how to react, just as the IOC did back in 2004. It won't be the Times' fault if they make the wrong choice.

    I am though, quite certain (and indeed heartened) that if England loses this and it looks like the reason for the loss is a grudge, our press will tear FIFA a new a-hole over the next few years, and deservedly so. If FIFA plays this wrongly, whoever does win 2018 and 2022 is going to end up working with a severely troubled organisation.

  • Comment number 47.

    Platini and Blatter are obviously anti-English - even Scots like myself who spends time in England and Scotland realise this. They have some justification in their criticisms of the Premier League but otherwise, most complaints are quite obviously anti-English.

    They make the Scottish hatred look timid in comparison!

  • Comment number 48.

    Ridiculous to blame the media for reporting on real scandal in the game.

    I wish they would stop reporting what the Rooney's had for breakfast that kind of jounalism sickens me.

    FIFA/UEFA despise British football and would do anything to block any bids we make.
    Blatter runs FIFA like his own small country, electing sycophants to maintain his position.
    In the 70 & 80's we probably did not deserve a tournement due to crowd issues but after Euro 96 which ran seemlessly and was graced with some very good games, it is ridiculous we have not had another major tournement.
    The SA world cup was a shambles with additional funds required to make the pitches semi playable and then the introduction of the worst football in history put the final nail in the coffin.
    It would be great for the game and the economy for the UK but knowing how FIFA run things.....Good drinks and breweries spring to mind.......

  • Comment number 49.

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  • Comment number 50.

    So you can criticise The Sunday Times for it's allegations and undercover work, but then make this statement, which has no evidence to prove it's true.

    "But now, thanks to a possible voting alliance with Qatar which is bididng for 2022, Spain's joint bid with Portugal is looking strong."

    You're all as bad as each other. Start reporting facts and not fiction. English football fans deserve better than the drivel that appears in the media.

  • Comment number 51.

    Just got back from Russia. I have seen what they are building/ planning to build and they aren't doing that for their own amusement.

    The Olympic Stadium in Sochi is being designed as a football stadium not an Olympic stadium

    The phrase done deal springs to mind.

    It seems Blatter's legacy will be to take a world cup to africa and one to the biggest country in the world where ice hockey is still king!

    there is no merit in him awarding it to England, we have the stadium, the infrastructure the fans the most expensive league. Its too easy.

  • Comment number 52.

    When will some of you realise that the English football public are a minority within the population.

    If we win it won't be FA that pays for the staging but, like the Olympics, millions of taxpayers, many who couldn't careless about who stages it.

    However, it's quite laughable the way Sep Blatter is trying to turn wrong doing by his officials against the FA. Just like wrong doings by delegates in previous WCs the charges will be swept under the carpet.

    FIFA is like the EU, a gravy train for those on board.

  • Comment number 53.

    When you see these FIFA delegates treated like Heads of State, with no expense spared on VIP treatment, pampering to their every need and whim, a fully funded gravy train is it any wonder that this mess has occurred. The very nature and format of this process is open to abuse. It is good that these allegations of corruption and vote rigging are being exposed, irrespective of who it implicates, embarrasses or annoys. And BBC, to not censor or shelve the PANORAMA programme on this issue.

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  • Comment number 55.

    This suggests FIFA is essentially agreeing the bidding process is corrupt, and that any investigation that threatens to unveil the corruption therefore negatively affects any bids from that country, basically an attempt to blackmail the media in each country to avoid this being made publicly.

  • Comment number 56.

    It's a great shame that there are so many posts slating the media for this. None of us should lose sight of that fact that FIFA should be under the spotlight, not our bid team nor our newspapers. This country has a free press and this should be celebrated, not criticised.

    There is a very simple way of avoiding coming across as corrupt during an undercover sting: when the undercover reporter asks 'if I gave you money, would that influence your vote?' you get up, offended, and reply 'no!'

    How FIFA has got the nerve to criticise the newspapers' methods for uncovering their questionable practices (sensitive vocabulary being used here, for fear of being modded...) I don't know. There would be no reason for newspapers to conduct undercover investigations into FIFA's dealings if there was nothing to investigate!

    Surely no-one can deny the truth of the above?

  • Comment number 57.

    When England is the most blindingly obvious country to host the World Cup for a great number of years, it will be a sad day for world football when England are not on that piece of paper. If England don't get the world cup in 2018,they never will.

    It may be time for England to split from FIFA and go their own way, not sure of the legalities of this, but just a thought.

    Look at the way the top tier of English football has blossomed since the top division split from the FA into the Premier League, not everybodies cup of tea I know. But no denying it has been a success.

  • Comment number 58.

    Is David Bond going to come back and respond to any of the 57 comments so far?

  • Comment number 59.

    If the press have done anything wrong here, then the World Cup bid team should be looking at legal action.

    The fact is, the press did their job. It's a shame they don't do it with such distinction when investigating the actions of those outside sport, but that's a fact of life - sport and football in particular are popular.

    If FIFA wants to play the game of blaming the papers and awarding the World Cup elsewhere, then frankly England should boycott the competition. The newspapers were doing their jobs, FIFA members got caught. It's not a difficult one to work out.

    And to those saying how this entrapment is illegal in other countries - the UK allows footballers and other celebrities to take out high court injunctions to prevent details of their personal lives from being published simply because they can't keep their hands to themselves, a privilege not available to them abroad.

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  • Comment number 62.

    Stew10 you wrote


    They don't have any hatred of England at all, there is only a section of the public in England that uses their 'imagined' dislike to their own anti-johnny foreigner ends, combined with their view that the world revolves around them."

    If you bothered to read my post properly, you would see that I am in fact Scottish. I don't hate England, but enjoy a wee laugh at their footballing misfortunes.

    Try learning comprehension skills before commenting.

  • Comment number 63.

    The tabloids annoy me(to put it politely) when they try to do in our national teams. FIFA however are perfectly fair game as far as I'm concerned.

    What we have is someone blowing the whistle on possible/probable corruption in the corridors of power. What is the reaction of The Powers That Be? Seemingly the same as at least one situation I've personally been involved in - it's seen as easier to lynch the whistle blower than have the Mr Bigs clean up their act.

    We shouldn't lose the 2018 World Cup on these grounds but if FIFA are in a snit then we may well do so, no matter what our efforts at recovery are.

    Fingers crossed it doesn't play out that way though.

  • Comment number 64.

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  • Comment number 65.

    #61 malwhereartthou

    I agree that if we have the best bid but we don't win for other factors, then something is wrong and we should play no part in it.

    However, you say 'We should immidaitely withdraw our bid and announce we won't be bidding again until FIFA is independently audited and agrees to a root and branch overhaul of how it is run' and presumably it would be the FA that did the withdrawing. However, how is the FA's root and branch review promised after England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 coming along? It's all gone a bit quiet hasn't it.

  • Comment number 66.

    a bit of a witch-hunt going on here, whatever the rags say, these are ALLEGATIONS and as such are being investigated, evidence obtained by deception does not stand in any court

    but Do carry on, FIFA bashing is a national sport

  • Comment number 67.

    Does anyone really expect the media in this country to actually support England's bid? There's more mileage in lurid headlines leading up to & during the world cup than in a well run campaign. But FIFA's stance is even worse. There isn't a member of FIFA outside of England who wants us to have the world cup here so why should we bend the knee to them? Our bid appears to be as good if not better than anyone else's so we should push on & let FIFA know we won't be put off by their members whingeing about privacy etc. They are the world governing body for football. They should be under scrutiny at all times regarding their actions.

  • Comment number 68.

    England got everything ready now for the bid for the 2018 World Cup. Before today's news England would have been slight favorites against Russia, but once the news can today, I guess Russia are now slight favorites to host the 2018 World Cup

    Under a month left now, should be interesting

  • Comment number 69.

    Let's consider a recent comparison example. The News of the World recently used a kind of sting operation to implicate three cricket players in a corruption scandal. The ICC, mindful of its reputation and knowing that a reputation for corruption would make the game suffer, took immediate action, even going so far as to thank the newspaper in question for exposing the story.

    Sepp Blatter, on the other hand, almost legitimises the actions of the people under investigation by attacking the media instead. He's saying, 'Those guys are poor victims of the questionable practises that the media employ.'

    Which is kind of ludicrous. If the members of the bid committee in question had not acted improperly, where would the story be? There wouldn't be one, because no matter how dirty the dirty tricks involved in the operation by the newspaper, they wouldn't have found a story.

    Sepp Blatter should be reminded that he is a public servant, as are all of the people who run FIFA, and as such, proper media scrutiny should not only be expected, but welcomed. If they, as standard practise, evade such scrutiny, the only conclusion one can reach is that the organisation is corrupt. What have they got to fear from newspaper investigation, other than being caught doing something they shouldn't have been doing?

    I'd understand the irritation if the story had been a personal one, but it wasn't, it was purely about bribery and corruption in business terms. The only embarrassment brought on these people is of their own making.

    Actually, they probably have more to fear by avoiding this than they do by engaging with it. If England doesn't get the bid, and England fans who buy newspapers believe the bid process to be corrupt, there will be a much greater motivation for the English press to find corruption in their ranks than if England win. If they think the media are running a campaign against them now, they have seen NOTHING!!

    And I actually don't want England to win. It's unlikely I'll be able to afford a ticket for any matches, and therefore, if I must watch it on telly, I'd rather watch it on telly being hosted in another country to keep the streets a little quieter!

  • Comment number 70.

    I despise the tabloid media in this country, but anyone who things this was the fault of the Times investigation is barking mad.

    The Times made a legitimate investigation, raising questions about influence for favours in FIFA's upper echelons which is now being investigated with FIFA's ethics committee. Well done to the Times!

    We need more of this kind of news reporting instead of the lazy (for which read inexpensive) news gathering which passes for journalism we sujected to day in day out. It used to be the 24 hour news and the News International stable who were the prime culprits, but now the BBC is the worst of the lot, and of that bad bunch the sports desk is worst of all. The problem is it's easier to report on a conflict than to investigate why there's a conflict. Who cares as long as it selling newspapers/preserving viewing figures/getting page hits? In fact the more polarised the debate the more the story can be strung out as it see-saws one way and then the other. Much simpler than actually trying investigate, putting a bit of effort in to work out what's going on!

    So the Times should be congratulated and encouraged to do more of the same and the BBC should get on board as should the rest of the UK press. If there's corruption to be exposed it should be.

    Last comment from me, does anyone actually care if the World Cup comes to England? Really? I'm an avid Spurs supporter, but I actually quite like the odd hours and different atmospheres you get from watching football in far flung places. Let's have it staged in Russia, I reckon it could be good for Russian football and fun for the rest of us!

  • Comment number 71.

    Keep it up Tabs, you'll eventually create such a backlash the Prime Minister will call for a throttle on you and nobody will come to your rescue.

  • Comment number 72.

    Basically the British media have NOTHING to do with where the World Cup is hosted, so why are FIFA officials allowed to let this affect thier decision, nevermind allowed to come out publicly and state that.

    You are and always have been a joke Blatter. You have done nothing as president expect stick your foot in your own mouth and make a fool of yourself and FIFA.

  • Comment number 73.

    Allegedly FIFA are now saying that our bid for the world cup is under threat because they don't like the way certain elements of the British media behave. Some people would call that blackmail. If FIFA as a body is so confident in its own housekeeping then surely it has nothing to worry about. Maybe they are so used to managing their own publicity to the nth degree that they don't realise we still have a reasonably free press in this country. No smoke without fire perhaps or are they really that anti-English?

  • Comment number 74.

    Why are the papers intent on ruining England's chances when it comes to World Cups? With the stories about players, managers, fake sheiks, prostitutes etc. etc, and now this, the papers have done a fine job of undermining our chances of winning the world cup and now staging the world cup. The 2018 World Cup will go to Russia and it is such a shame.

  • Comment number 75.


    Don't get me started on the FA! As bad as FIFA in terms of mendacity and secrecy, who knows what is going on there. The FA should have been overhauled years ago bu the previous governemt seemed to lose the will to challenge them.


    You are quite right these are allegations and no-one is claiming they have a water-tight case against FIFA. But that being the case, isn't it peverse of FIFA to react as they have done and suggest the very fact these unproven accusations have been made will be damaging to our bid?! Why should it, as you say, they're only accusations right?? It suggest implicitly that FIFA are gulity by reacting in such a fashion. And get a grip; FIFA deserve to be bashed. Evidence of corruption has been proven within the organisation for years! I suooopse you think that we're all better off living in blissful ignorance! I suggest you change your username to Walter Mitty!

  • Comment number 76.

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  • Comment number 77.

    If there is a proven backlash surely this would confirm that Fifa are corrupt. IF no evidence of malpractice, then it would confirm that certain sections of the press are also.
    Of course a wider debate on the morality of football may be welcome.
    Have the bbc had to tread carefully with regard to critical comment on both of the aforementioned parties???

  • Comment number 78.

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  • Comment number 79.

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  • Comment number 80.

    I should have added that I'm heartbroken that, by their apparently carefully planned action, the Sunday Times has most likely destroyed any hope of another English world cup in my lifetime. I can't even begin to understand how they balanced this outcome against the assumed extra sales and came to the decision to go ahead with the sting. Unbelievable.

  • Comment number 81.

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  • Comment number 82.

    In about 20002 a Russian player was tested positive for drugs in a UEFA qualifier. I would have thought that most paople would be bemuesed and angry that Russsia should even be allowed to bid for the world cup. If they win it will be victory for supporters of drug taking and cheating in sport.

  • Comment number 83.

    I get the feeling that FIFA would much rather opt for a country which doesn't have a free press. Which says a lot about FIFA - and none of what it says is good.

  • Comment number 84.

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  • Comment number 85.

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    Just thought i'd save you the bother. My view of FIFA and its associates would never be printed.

  • Comment number 86.

    I read an interesting piece about this at:
    Says it all really.

  • Comment number 87.

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  • Comment number 88.

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  • Comment number 89.

    so very very predictable -
    im english but it infuriates me how evrything is against us its just pathetic, whenever we dont get our own way its a conspiracy and everyone is against us. the media play this jingoistic card and people just lap it up.

    Why should Russia not get it? or Portugal? neither have had the world cup before. Thepress think its our god given right to get the world cup - what just because we have a lot of fans (who dosn't) because we have stadiums (who dosn't/can't build them?) because we are the "home" of football (so what - it's an international game)

    Yet again we are making excuses so that its not our fault - like when lampards goal wasn't allowed and it was that that knocked us out of the world cup (not that we were well beaten by a much better side)

    we here how uefa/fifa are so much against us while at the same time as much is done as possible to ensure english clubs (4 of them) reach the latter stages of the champions league. Platini says things should be a bit fairer and clubs shouldn't have debt - and he is painted as anti-english. Well ask liverpool, man u, and portsmouth fans if they like being in debt - its not rocket science is it!

    of course fifa shoul be more transparent but the british press make me sick

  • Comment number 90.

    This is great isn't it, you English are complaining that your media has damaged your bid...........If I remember correctly it was the media that exposed the Pakistanis during their series there, I did not hear too much talk about 'unethical' methods then.

    Point is, is you are straight, then you are straight no amount of undercover work will get you into trouble, have no sympathy for those two guys who were caught.

    Now to the bid, England may have a useless team, but truth be told they have the best facilities at the moment, only Spain and Portugal can match them, so it is between the two.

  • Comment number 91.

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  • Comment number 92.

    85. At 5:49pm on 04 Nov 2010, plasticmanc wrote:
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    +1 - It is a sad day indeed for the free press. The BBC fear FIFA on this one.

  • Comment number 93.

    Do we want a transparent, corruption free sport? I do, and a lot of other people do, but the beneficiaries don't, and there are more of them than I think we are admitting to ourselves? If FIFA are not going to do anything about this, would we like the press to do it for them? I would, and a lot of other people would too.

    Do we want England to win the bid? I do, and a lot of other English people do too. If we don't get it this time, is there another one next year, and the year after that, and the year after that...? NO, there, isn't. We might have left this mortal coil before we get our next chance. In light of this, would we like our press to hold their horses and help out the country? I would, and a lot of other English people would too.

    Did these reporters give a ****? No, they didn't. They were more concerned about the big story and making a name for themselves, and the best way to do that, just like with the Triesman sting, was to time the stories to cause the maximum damage to England. AGAIN!!!

    These people are TRAITORS. And the people who keep them in business by buying their publications are not much better.

  • Comment number 94.

    'the prospect of seven years of scrutiny by the British media fills many of the Fifa members with dread.'...why if they've got nothing to hide plus what better way to stop any scrutiny than to be completely honest and transparent and giving the tournament to a country renowned for fair play? ;)

    I doubt very much most of them are worried about a small island nations media in the global scheme of things...are they all gonna be there in eight years time anyway!?

  • Comment number 95.

    Two things to comment on really, we really should be allowed another tournament as the two we have hosted were very successful and being a large player in the international game it's about ime it cam eto us again. That said if the English Media do have a n impact on the decision then it will anger me for these two reasons;
    1. Why should Media affect a bid? - my only thought would be that those who decide have brought their personal life into the equation rather than just their opinion
    2. When are the English media going to realise that hounding individuals is NOT what the English public want. I do not want to read about someone who was tricked into saying somehting - I'm surprised at the Times I thought it was only the NOTW that went for that sort of approach. Don't tell us, tell FIFA and provide the evidence, let them decide what to do with it, its their job!!!

  • Comment number 96.

    David - who is this 'senior member' of the bid team? Are you allowed to name him? Probably not!!
    It is completely incredulous that after the diabolical handling of its various affairs over recent months (years actually) that such a statement can be issued on behalf of the FA, before the result is even known.
    What is the purpose of this statement?
    1) Could it be the FA knows it has failed with its bid and is therefore looking for a 'scapegoat' in the form of the Press & Media?
    2) Could it be, the FA believes that by making such a statement now then pressure would be exerted on FIFA and it would somehow be afraid NOT to award the 2018 WC to England, because it would then face allegations it had something to hide all along and is just getting its 'own back' on England for allowing the press to investigate in the first place???
    3) Could it be, that by excepting it has lost the bid already, the FA is giving FIFA an 'out' for 2018, but laying down a marker for 2022?
    The mind boggles at the apparent stupidity of the FA issuing such statements at this time -but there again did we honestly expect anything different?

  • Comment number 97.

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  • Comment number 98.

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  • Comment number 99.

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  • Comment number 100.

    My first thought when I heard the story was that the world cup bid would suffer, so this news is no surprise. We can dress this up any way we want, but the inescapable fact is that in most of the world the tactics used here by 'investigative' jounalists would not be tolerated.

    In the 2006 world cup Engalnd went there with a manager already about to leave his job, which has to have affected the squad negatively. Why? Because of the 'fake sheik' scandal. This was compounded by the farcial debate about the appointment of the next manager and the Scolari debacle. The winners on that occasion were the papers who will have sold a few extra copies; the losers the British public.

    The run up to the 2010 world cup included the captain who had led the team through qualifying being stripped of the job, again something that must have affected the team. Once again this was the outcome of articles published in the press. The winners will again be the people who benefitted from selling a few more papers; the losers the British public (in particular the nations football fans).

    We are now approaching the votes to decide who hosts the 2018 and 2022 world cups and once again we find stories that sell a few more papers, but which might we mean that England's bid loses. Doubtless if that happens this will provide more to write about for some, and a big disappointment for others. Does anyone see a pattern here?

    We really need to wake up and realise that when we buy into a product - be that a newspaper, or a ticket to watch a football match. Then we tacitly agree to the way it goes about it's business. Whilst I personally find the way our media works quite shocking, I also recognise that they work this way because people buy the product. Some clear headed thinking about the what we buy from the news stands is the only way to change this. I'm talking about arts and entertainment, politics, all walks of life and not just football, all of which are frequently reported in a certain way. If you like the product just keep buying it and nothing will change. If like me you don't like it, just stop buying it. They will soon get the message!


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