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Fifa act tough - but what does that mean for England's 2018 bid?

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David Bond | 15:47 UK time, Thursday, 18 November 2010


Fifa had to be seen to be taking tough action against the two executive committee members accused by the Sunday Times newspaper of offering their World Cup votes in return for money.

Fifa knew its reputation was on the line and, in delivering bans for Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, its ethics committee has shown it is prepared to act if members of the most exclusive football club in the world step out of line.

But its failure to investigate more thoroughly the claims of collusion between 2018 bidders Spain/Portugal and Qatar's bid for 2022 leave a lingering suspicion that this process still needs to be made more transparent.

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Can England still dream of hosting 2018 World Cup?

Jerome Valcke, the general secretary of world football's governing body, essentially admitted there was little anyone could do to stop voting members striking deals between themselves ahead of the vote on 2 December.

"Am I certain the votes for 2018 and 2022 will be free of any collusion? I cannot answer this question," said Valcke on Thursday. "Having two World Cup bids at the same time has opened the door to such conversations, particularly as you have eight bids that have executive committee members in the room."

Worth noting, too, the words carefully chosen by Claudio Sulser, the chairman of Fifa's ethics committee. There was not, he said, "sufficient grounds" to reach the conclusion that there was any collusion.

But beyond revealing that written statements had been provided by members of the executive committee, he would not say exactly how far they had looked into it.

So what does all this mean for England's chances of winning the right to stage the 2018 World Cup?

Andy Anson, chief executive of the England bid, might have been upbeat in briefings with journalists following the publication on Wednesday of Fifa's evaluation report but Thursday's decisions may have taken the spring out of his step.

The banning of Temarii and Amadu has reduced the number of votes needed to win the right to host the 2018 competition from 13 to 12. However, sources suggest their absence from the election removes at least one and maybe two of England's backers.

Sulser's extraordinary rant against the Sunday Times will also be a cause for concern. Having seemingly given credence to the newspaper's allegations by banning the two executive committee members, the Swiss lawyer then rounded on the journalists.

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Fifa sends out warning to media

Accusing newspapers of sensationalising stories to sell more copies, he added: "I cannot tolerate the way they changed sentences and changed the way of presenting the truth."

He argued that, in releasing just four incriminating minutes of video online and not the many hours of footage they had collected, the Sunday Times had distorted the true context of the situation.

Sulser said he had been left with no choice but to ban the members. But one was left with the impression that he did not really think it was fair.

Fortunately for England, he does not have a vote in the election. But the tone of his attack may be a cause for concern. The timing of a BBC Panorama investigation into Fifa corruption - just three days before the vote - is now the biggest worry for England.

On Wednesday, Anson called the BBC unpatriotic, forcing the broadcaster to counter that its enquiries were entirely in the public interest.

The stand-off is likely to become one of the dominant themes during the climax to this contest. And whatever ground England may make in the next fortnight with the support of Prince William, David Beckham and Prime Minister David Cameron, Anson and co say one piece of television could blow all that hard work.

As if to underline their concern, Cameron has invited the influential Fifa vice president Jack Warner to lunch next week to try to persuade him to back England.
Warner, who has had brushes with Panorama in the past, is thought to be particularly annoyed by the new programme and England are desperate to keep him on side.

But the most significant problem for England remains the possible voting alliance between Spain/Portugal and Qatar. Despite Qatar's disastrous evaluation report, there are still fears among bidders that this could have a big influence.

The deal could guarantee both bids seven votes apiece, which gives Spain/Portugal a big edge over England with only 12 votes now needed.

Trying to predict the outcome for England remains extremely difficult. Working out how the members vote and why - even afterwards - is almost impossible.

And for all Fifa's talk of transparency, choosing the host of the World Cup ultimately is still a secretive decision taken by 22 men in a closed room. Can there be any other event of this magnitude and commercial value that is chosen in such a way?


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, there's the World Cup going to Russia.

  • Comment number 3.

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

  • Comment number 4.

    Whatever gives England teh divine right to host the World cup? We talk as if they don't proper Stadia and Football fans in Spain/Portugal etc.

    If we do not get the right to host this WC, the main reason would be our arrogance and apparent disdain for the other bids!

  • Comment number 5.

    Well - Holland is also bidding along with Belgium, but chances are slim for us.

    Our main 'objection' for FIFA is that we will not suspend legislation, civil nor fiscal. FIFA actually wants to pay no tax whatsoever, specifically for personal spending of officials. You gotta be joking...

    Welll, good riddance - personally I wouldn't even want my country to host it - costs are sky-high and all benefits are for Blatter and his henchmen...

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    FIFA, along with its fellow 'law unto itself' IOC, are universally regarded as being open to incentives. The quality of its selected representatives provides clear evidence of this. As such, the selection process is likely more around the 'behind closed doors' negotiations. On this premise, and since the English media broke the news about the 2 FIFA executive committee members, then I also believe thatr Russia will now likely be able to secure enough votes to gain the 2018 World Cup

  • Comment number 8.

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

  • Comment number 9.

    Wow - my comment was removed from the board for simply stating that the media are as much to blame if we lose this world cup bid as FIFA and our bid its self are?

    Is there even any point in commenting on these boards if you're not allowed to air your view?

  • Comment number 10.

    Are the moderators going to be censoring the forthcoming Panorama programme too?

    What hypocrisy!

  • Comment number 11.

    I would love the World Cup to come to England in 2018 - what football fan wouldn't, but do we want this at a price of turning a blind eye to all the dodgy dealings that are alleged to have gone on within FIFA for years ?
    The rant by the chairman of the ethics committe was unbelieveable - talk about shooting the messenger!
    To blame the media if we don't win the right is absolutely ridiculous - all they have done is to try to derail the gravy train the 24 committe members have been riding on for many years (allegedly)

  • Comment number 12.

    You might as well pull the blog! Pathetic!

  • Comment number 13.

    Same here - I stated something quite harmless. Not acceptable to house rules...

  • Comment number 14.

    here here #10

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, as many times before, where there is any sort of "competition" involved, the UK/England are behaving in an appaling manner...

    The media (elsewhere but the UK) is reporting that the UK media were systematically trying to tarnish 1st the Russian bid, then the Portugal/Spain bid. This media obsession of yours does sometimes backfire, and by reading the media in Spain and Portugal, for example, I wouldn't be surprised if your bid had already lost mainly based on the not so fair attempts to discredit other countries' bids.

    I have been in the UK for 10 years, have seen it all before. Not once in the Portuguese/Spanish media have I read any attack on the England bid. Not once! Or on any other bid for that matter...

    Perhaps the Portugal/Spain bids are indeed better? Perhaps the weather is by far the best for a World Cup? Perhaps the cultures are more frendly at receiving foreigners/turists? Perhaps our motorways are far superior? New Airports? TGV?

    For once it woudl be nice to hear something positive towards others, as opposed to simply resourting to "they used shady moves to get this", etc.

    Having said that, perhaps the Russian bid is the 'bestest'... Let us find out on the 2nd, shall we?

  • Comment number 16.

    I would say that the most damaging event for England's bid is yet to come. Forget the alleged Iberian/Qatar collusion. A week (or less) before the all important FIFA vote, the BBC Panorama program still plans to broadcast it's ill-timed program on alleged corruption at FIFA. This could well put paid to any remaining chance we have of hosting the World Cup in 2018.
    The BBC will say the program is in the public interest. That it may well be, but why not wait until after the vote, how is "public interest" served by potentially putting the kibosh on our much awaited and overlong chance to be hosts?
    I'm 50, so I can only dimly remember 1966, and I would like to see it here again before I get too old!
    As a licence payer, I am sure I am not alone in asking the BBC to delay the program until after the vote. If you do not and we lose the vote, you will not be popular, to say the least. Think on BBC.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hopefully justice will prevail and other officials who take back handers will be exposed.

    If FIFA were really clean they would delegate referee decisions to a jury with access to goal line technology and video replays. (FA and UEFA are just as guilty).

    For England to win 2018, we need an ironman politician of football managing our bid and as far as I can see we have nobody, so no chance.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ Yorkshirthai

    You have to wonder why the English press doesn't run these kinds of exposés when our country is not in the running to host the World Cup. If their journalism is, as they say purely 'in the public interest', then why only do it when we're in the bidding process?

    I can't help but come to the conclusion that their desire to sell more papers/garner more ratings out-weighs their patriotism. A little short-sighted too, I'd guess - how many more copies might they sell if we were to win the right to host it?

    Of course, that's rather a moot point, as we now have no chance.

  • Comment number 19.

    FIFA is about as open and "clean" as the average member of the Stasi, I doubt if there is even a single government on earth as adept at hiding the truth and avoiding honest questions.

    Yet they are still stupid enough to think that the British press won't be a thousand times worse in their hounding of officials and digging up dirt than they have already been, should we lose a secret ballot.

  • Comment number 20.

    I think the moderators should be more moderate in their moderation.

  • Comment number 21.

    I remember well 1966. It was a very good tournament with a classy England team full of passing capabilities and football brains. Considering the bleak prospects England have with the present set-up and lack of motivation playing for the national team, it is well if we do not win the bid. At least it will spare us of the embarrasment of being knocked out in the quarter finals on home soil. Who knows, perhaps then we will have a decent team!!

  • Comment number 22.

    I would love to see the World Cup here in the UK, but not at the cost to our moral standards. Someone needs to make a stand against corruption and although we may have shot ourselves in the foot, at least we will be able to walk away with ours heads held high. Albeit with Spain/Portugal or Russia laughing their socks off at us!

  • Comment number 23.

    its ok when its a deal between the usa and england,or the deal england struck with germany for euro 96 and germany 06.
    we vote for you for this one and we'll vote for you in the next one,that happens all the time and as far as i can see it seems perfectly normal,as long as it stops at giving gifs etc like the mega expensive handbags given to wives by one country or another.

  • Comment number 24.

    I thought that - UEFA after stern comments made by Franz Beckenbaur over England going up against Germany in 2006 - had decided a long time ago only to submit one candidate for each WC bid now the Fifa rotation process finished?..instead we've split the European vote completely apart by having bids from England, Russia, Holland and Belgium and Spain/Portugal all at once. Brazil were the only candidate put forward for 2014 by South America..another fine example of European brotherhood...not!

    David is it possible to present a clear breakdown of who is voting and where you think each individual vote currently lies?

  • Comment number 25.

    Not often I say this but the media have got it right. FIFA want a secretive ballot that practically invites collusion and and bribes. The only way to lure out the rotten apples is undertake these types of investigations. It was interesting that one committee member was quoted as saying that the media were " Unethical" & " Washing dirty laundry with dirty water ". Well it seems that FIFA's process is muddy enough to dirty everything , including its members.
    If the English bid is unsuccessful I would hope the committee demands to see how the votes were cast. Given that there wasn't sufficient evidence to find collusion betweeen Spain/Portugal & Quatar, the least FIFA should do is publish the voting results. It would be interesting to see who voted for who don't you think.

  • Comment number 26.

    I'm assuming the panicky modding of people's perfectly acceptable posts is because they're 'not in the public interest'?

    Or is it just not in the interests of the BBC to be shown to be massive hypocrites, becrying the almost-certain loss of a major tournament almost totally due to the media, whilst planning to run a nail-in-the-coffin programme three days before the vote?

  • Comment number 27.

    Spain should be hosting the Tournament on their own, and I think that will count heavily against them as a lack of faith in the competition. (as well as Fifa stating joint bids are meh)

    No questions over England, it's been the safest bid for the past twenty years, and for twenty more I guess.

    With regard to English papers, if they hadn't of investigated the corrupt people, we certainly wouldn't have had their votes anyway!

    I imagine it will almost certainly go to Russia, since that's where the money's at (with some decent football infrastructure to cover this fact, unlike Qatar).

    Fifa, for a charity organisation, do seem to spend most of their money serving themselves. Someone should investigate their finances and start getting them to play ball as a business, the charitable cover is well worn.

  • Comment number 28.

    "However, sources suggest their absence from the election removes at least one and maybe two of England's backers."

    2 people banned for accepting bribes were going to support the England bid?

    Er...that's encouraging, isn't it?

  • Comment number 29.

    FIFA is a political organisation not a sporting one, with all the inherent back door dealing that goes with that.

    I remember reports of an issue years ago with Jack Warner and the award of exclusive deals for FIFA events to his travel company.

    I remember qualification rules being changed at the 11th hour to try to ensure favoured nations get into tournaments.

    FIFA was forced to act when part of its underlying nature was revealed, but diluted the charges as much as possible and merely suspended people rather than banning them.
    As usual, those revealing corruption face more vitriol than the corrupt and its highly likely that FIFA will take its revenge for being embarrassed by the revelations by overlooking England's 2018 bid.
    Of course FIFA itself should be in the dock for turning a blind eye to such corrupt practices for years, but that's the way the organisation works and its more bothered about defending itself from criticism than it is about doing the right thing.

    The claims that reporting issues is "unpatriotic" is ridiculous, true it may scupper the bid, but that is due to the corrupt defensive nature of FIFA; suppressing the truth to protect the egos of the corrupt would be a dreadful compromise of principle.

    Its a shame that a new international football body can't be started without FIFA's baggage and therefore able to put fairness and sport first; as it is, FIFA will always be a gravy train for those who rise within the organisation, rather than a true representative of football and its fans.
    Of course with the FA making so much money out of "Team England" a principled stance of boycotting FIFA events until corruption is stamped out isn't going to happen; even though it would also reduce the suffering of English football fans.

  • Comment number 30.

    #21 Expat_01:

    although I am not English I found your thought pathetic. given the talented youngsters you have I guess you dont have to worry about the Frimpongs, Wilsheres, Walcotts, Welbecks and McEchrans - hey, it is just 8 years away from now.

    I think England is in the best position to host the WC as Spain hosted a WC in 82 and Portugal an Euro in '04 so England would deserve it.

    If I were the BBC or any other medium in England I would say a vendetta to FIFA in case England loses. FIFA must be the word for the utmost disgusting and corrupt international organization for being corrupt and ruining the wonderful game (not implementing technology).

    all this they make under the slogan: 'for the good of the game'. how ironic. only a vendetta helps guys. you should track each FIFA executive board member down and punish. Blatter must go.

    to avoid any sort of misunderstanding: I am deadly serious.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm Uruguayan, and Uruguay has also declared their intention to co-host (with Argentina) WC2030. As some people said before, I'd love my country to host a WC, but not on FIFA terms (all benefit to Blatter -or his sucessor- and his friends).
    I've got a feeling Russia will win the voting for WC2018, it would be fine by me, I'm against co-hosting.

  • Comment number 32.

    @16 mightyblooze:
    "As a licence payer, I am sure I am not alone in asking the BBC to delay the program until after the vote. If you do not and we lose the vote, you will not be popular, to say the least. Think on BBC."

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for the bid, but I am also a licence payer, I sure I am not alone in not wanting the BBC to delay the progam till after the vote. I would also love to see a World Cup on British soil, but not because the BBC rolled over for the parasites at FIFA and let them rub our tummy because we (BBC) were a "good boy", I want to see some bite!

    "You have to wonder why the English press doesn't run these kinds of exposés when our country is not in the running to host the World Cup."

    There are countless articles and books on how FIFA have been lining their pockets for years. Need any tickets for a World Cup and you are in Trinidad & Tobago? Well you have to buy the full package off Warner's family, who enthusiastically came across the tickets (at least allegedly in 06)
    And I expect the timing for this program was chosen because there is so much interest in FIFA and its corruption right now, especially in this country as we are bidding for it. Also probably because the bid is the same week, it makes it many times more relevant I feel when the process is, in fact, in process.

  • Comment number 33.

    So the BBC should cover-up a story with good arguments so we can stay 'friends' with FIFA?

    Even suggesting that is disgracefull. It's time that the FIFA is properly investigated..start with the re-election of a certain Mr. Blatter and donations to African countries.

  • Comment number 34.

    I hope the likes of the BBC and the English press will be happy when England lose the right to host the worlds greatest sporting event!

    Cant you just do a program on the Olympics and just ruin them instead? Nobody cares about those!

  • Comment number 35.

    I agree with Andy Anson and #16 mightyblooze. Mike Thomson says the Panorama programme is in the public interest, but doesn't seem to think England winning the bid is. If we lose the bid, I think the BBC ought to share the economic damage that this will cause. A lot of jobs and money are hanging on the vote. It's the ultimate insult for impoverished licence payers to have to pay for a service that has denied them the chance to improve their standard of living.

  • Comment number 36.

    I said this before on another blog post, but that was removed. I'll be more careful with my words this time.

    I want the BBC to maintain their journalistic integrity. I want FIFA to improve their transparency and fairness.

    And I'd rather have no English world cup than a corrupt one.

  • Comment number 37.

    I must say I am quite shocked about these news. I havent kept up to date with the bidding process but that two high ranking officials in FIFA would accept bribes is disgraceful.
    But at the same time, I must say that the English press has also disapointed me. To publish stories with nothing more than rumours is simply irresponsible and stupid.(Collusion stories)
    The only winners of this whole media coverage will be Belgium/Holland and the US, as the only ones who havent either been affected by a badly timed Panorama episode or false accusations.

  • Comment number 38.

    I do love the holier-than-thou attitude from some, with their railing against accepting a corrupt World Cup.

    I have to ask, what other World Cup is there?

  • Comment number 39.

    Tiago Coimbra: Strange that you choose to live in the UK given your low opinion of it, particularly as you imply it is not 'welcoming to foreigners'. I'm glad that those EU funds for Portuguese infrastructure have given you new motorways and trains, it will make me happy when I next pay my taxes.

    I've also lived in the UK for ten years having grown up abroad and I think it's a disgrace that after ten years of working (I presume) here you still hope England doesn't get the WC.

  • Comment number 40.

    Tiago - the media here are only interested in slinging mud. They have no loftier ambition than to have the most talked about headlines. They have few morals or scruples and few independent thoughts.

    They are a sickening aspect to British life but they will float above any damage caused by their wanton reporting defending themselves with glib references to serving the "public interest".

    What they really mean is serving their own self-interest to show no restraint, self censorship or inspection of the damage they themselves cause the country - the media's journalists and the publishers are in it for themselves and their reputation as outspoken spokesmen against perceived or manufactured injustices - except of course when they go against their own or their paymasters' agendas. They alone go unjudged by their acerbic critique.

    Ask yourself when last there was serious discussion about addressing the country's debt by challenging the 120 billions annually lost through mass tax evasion rather focussing on cutting services to the poor (ironically having no qualms at recently pointing the finger at Greece and Pakistan)? When last did one large journalistic institution go to town on injustices perpetrated by another?

    As a group the media in this country are the enemy of democracy and moral thinking and there is little we can to do prevent them.

  • Comment number 41.

    Let the russians or the spanish corrupt themselves to get it and then lets have eight years of british tabloid journalism at its absolute the end of it we may have nailed every single one of them

  • Comment number 42.

    "The banning of Temarii and Amadu has reduced the number of votes needed to win the right to host the 2018 competition from 13 to 12. However, sources suggest their absence from the election removes at least one and maybe two of England's backers."

    So of the members that the English press singled as corrupt: one, perhaps both, were in fact backing England? How interesting that the corrupt member/s were able to resist their underhanded tendencies and support the (uniquely above shenanigans) English bid.

    I think it's remarkable. With all the supposed 'favors' being thrown around by other competing nations (according to the English press) these member/s chose to support the one and only pristine bid.

    Remarkable indeed.

  • Comment number 43.

    #15 Its a shame Tiago we have gone this route though, because there are serious misgivings about holding the tournament in Russia with rampant racism in the terraces and clubs that refuse to even buy black players (Zenit St Petersburg for example).

    Personally I think Britain really is the best bid. Spain has had a world cup more recently (1982) and Russia, as I say, have serious issues. We have the infrastructure and are excellently placed. Unfortunately the media's scattergun sensationalism strikes again latching onto whatever is the biggest news story at the highest point of impact. For them. Of course they won't accept any of the blame when it all goes down the pan.

  • Comment number 44.

    # 42 Sebastian:

    excellent thought. agree.

  • Comment number 45.

    @ 39 smellslikesalmon

    You have missed the point.

    The British media has a habit of criticising others, in this specific case, the Russian bid, Spanish Portuguese on and so on

    Try reading a foreign newspaper to get a comparison, you will see that the foreign press is rather objective.

  • Comment number 46.

    Well what a shock!

    They don't like corruption but they don't like those who expose it even more!

    Thanks to the Times and the BBC the bid will likely be decided on the basis of how many members want the media (not even the gutter press in this case) investigating them, and that will probably be 0! I don't expect us to get to the final round of voting.

    Personally I think the best bids for 2018 are England and Spain/Portugal, with Russia being the worst, from a fans point of view the CL final their was a disgrace, the price of rubbish hotel rooms was more than the Ritz and it cost a fortune for anyone not within 100 miles of moscow to get there. Not that FIFA will care about the fans!

    So despite it being obviously the worst bid I think Russia will win, and as usual it'll all be down to politics.

    From the looks of things it'll be 60 years between England hosting world cups, yet the Yanks will get a second within 20!

    So thanks to our media not only do we have to put up with watching a rubbish national team (not the media's fault) but we'll never get to watch a decent live match in the next few decades! And that is their fault!

  • Comment number 47.

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

  • Comment number 48.

    So in order to prove they are above corruption the UK Prime Minister is now inviting Jack Warner (of all people) to a "free lunch" - who is paying for his trip to London?

  • Comment number 49.

    chucksavage7: I regularly read newspapers and news websites from all over the world, including a translation of the recent Russian article where London was described as being full of drunk children and criminals (coming from the Russians?!?). They all have good and bad aspects and, whilst I despise the tabloids and disagree with the timing of the Panorama program, I don't think World Cup bids should be based on a few articles that people take exception to. It should be based on where the best tournament will be held, allowing for rotation to different regions of the world.

    Perhaps this is too much to hope for.

    So I would suggest it's you who've missed the point.

  • Comment number 50.

    Re 21 - Expat 21 - whilst I have nothing but praise for the 1966 winners, is it not a fact that England in 1966 has been the only "home winners" of the World Cup to have played all their games at one stadium - this by a late change of venue for the semi-finals when the original plan was for England to play at Goodison Park - the FAs excuse/reason which does have a bit of credibility is that Wembley was a bigger ground and therefore more fans could view the game - or more income for the FA - take your pick?

  • Comment number 51.

    For 'FIFA acts tough' read "FIFA gets caught out".

    Another worrying thing for England - in the event of a tied bid the casting bid goes to ... Mr S Blatter

  • Comment number 52.

    (Tongue in cheek!) I wonder how the relationships within the Spain/Portugal bid team will be affected by the 4-0 win last night by Portugal over Spain?

  • Comment number 53.

    It will not matter whether England get the World Cup in 2018 unless it can find a way of fielding a world class team. Recent performances suggest that England does not have the talent to compete at World Cup level. I feel that unless the financial strangle hold that Premier League clubs and TV have on the game can be broken then there will be no incentive for those clubs to devlop the necessary talent. These clubs have a far better opportunities to develop talent for many other countries at teh expense of the home nations. I feel that I may echo the thoughts of many when I say that I lost interest in club football when it ceased to be possible to watch British internationals competing regularly. If performances do not start improving soon then I shall rapidly lose interest in supporting England as well. What will be the point of staging a World Cup in England if we have no chance of winning?

  • Comment number 54.


    you say 'FIFA act tough', however, a couple of years ban for executive members who were actually caught in the act is NOT TOUGH.

    EXCLUSION, what the IOC did when a couple of its members were similarly caught in the act of bribery in connection with the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics bid, WAS A TOUGH DECISION.

    Just to let you know that FIFA doesn't take this 'bribery-gate' that seriously... this decision was just 'music for the masses'.

  • Comment number 55.

    The blatant corruption evident in sport these days is absolutely disgusting, what makes it even worse is that they were caught red handed yet still have the nerve to protest their innocence and indignation, disgusting individuals.

  • Comment number 56.

    # 53: Rayles

    income, tourism, thousand of workplaces - just to name a few. and let me repeat myself at point # 30.

    "although I am not English I found your thought pathetic. given the talented youngsters you have I guess you dont have to worry about the Frimpongs, Wilsheres, Walcotts, Welbecks and McEchrans."

  • Comment number 57.


    Exactly how many Wilsheres are there? England could probably do with... let's say... eleven.

  • Comment number 58.

    Not sure England was ever going to win this bid with or without Panorama or The Times. Mainly because FIFA like to think they are leaving a legacy after each WC and they feel that will be seen more so in Russia than in a country that already has the world's wealthiest league. Even given Russia's rampant racism issue's.
    Also, I'm afraid, we're just not liked that much.

    On the plus side, a World Cup for England should be about glorious adventure and ultimate failure in a foreign land. Also, we'll be spared the two years of tedious friendlies leading up to the tournement.

    So, let's not fret about it too much. What will be will be. Having said that, I do look forward to the relentless English Press scrutiny of all things FIFA post 2018 bid decision should it not go our way. The prospect of which might be the one thing actually in our favour.

  • Comment number 59.

    Being realistic, if England do fail with the 2018 bid it pretty much kills our chances of ever hosting it again. Journalists in this country will always be happy to expose any secret so if FIFA cannot accept that then why do we even bother?

    I personally do not care if it is the Newspaper article/the Panaroma investigation which has ruined our chances The fact is the FA, EPL, FL, Clubs, Fans etc is where the football is at, not the media.

    The World Cup shouldn't be decided by lies...

  • Comment number 60.

    #58 - I believe host nations now have to qualify for the world cup finals. Not sure maybe someone else could confirm or otherwise.

  • Comment number 61.


    You're getting mixed up. World Cup holders now have to qualify (they didn't before), but hosts still gain their places automatically.

  • Comment number 62.

    Most predictions I've seen show the 21 first round votes being split as follows (Adamu and Temarii suspended, Blatter only voting in event of a tie):

    Spain - 8
    England - 7
    Russia - 5 (includes Platini and Beckenbauer)
    Belgium/Holland - 1

    Most think that the only votes that realistically could change in the 1st round (but not easily) are Platini, Beckenbauer and perhaps Anouma. Platini could be swung by making him more comfortable that the FA will get their act together and Beckenbauer perhaps by getting someone like Bobby Charlton to try and convince him that 52 years of hurt is enough. Also, if Platini changes his mind then he would probably bring at least Lefkaritis of Cyrpus with him.

    Bottom line is we've a bit of work to do to even get to a second round (Spain could win by having the highest number of votes in the first round). Assuming we get to the second round then it's all about where the votes of the eliminated countries go which is the proverbial crapshoot.

  • Comment number 63.

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

  • Comment number 64.

    Just thought I'd add the comment about corruption in FIFA. The world is corrupt, get used to it. British companies are just as corrupt - British Auerospace, one of our biggest exporters, just paid a whopping fine for export "irregularities".

    I'm not condoning corruption but these two representatives weren't already guilty of corruption, they were entrapped and fell for it. It's just another Sheikh/Sven sting (News of the World). Surprise, surprise its another Murdoch publication at the heart of it. That Panorama are following up is just another instance of how BBC are sliding into the sensationalism driven ratings war. And fairly disheartening given its reputation.

    There's many a poor nations' representatives that would fall for the offer under the same circumstances. Its the politics of the have nots unfortunately. Anyone who points the finger at this person or that person should just as energetically point the finger at many of our own institutions dealings outside this country otherwise they are just guilty of hypocrisy. Even more so given we have less cause to go that route.

    So FIFA were force to turf them out, but they are not going to love the country that embarrassed them into doing it. Sometimes you have to show restraint and measured criticism but our media is often incapable of this.

  • Comment number 65.

    #61 - got you, thanks;)

  • Comment number 66.

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

  • Comment number 67.

    #63 I agree. I didn't even want to go down that route. Full credit to the documentary looking at the Pensions fund feeding frenzies by the banking institutions and IFAs. Was that the Beeb or Channel 4 I can't remember? Now THAT's the kind of documentaries that are valuable.

  • Comment number 68.

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

  • Comment number 69.

    I think it would be unlieky that England has never received friendly commonwealth votes lets face it, this is a game that is played every bidding campaign and someones finally got caught as they got too carried away because this is the done thing. The a public slap on the wrist for them and a hush hush now as I am sure these two are aware of others selling bids in my opinion and not the opinion of the BBC

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    Initially I was excited by the prospect of England bidding and winning, but as all the nasty twists and turns of the campaign have unfolded I am apathetic about the whole process.

  • Comment number 72.

    The revelation that the UK Journalists were correct in their assessment of these individuals, may result in greater tolerance and sympathy of the UK Bid, which is, in my personal opinion the most logical choice... good stadia, infrastructure, huge fan base etc. Hopefully, the furore from this, and previous scandals (remember Lord Triesman?!) will be forgotten, or at least softened by the fact the Daily Telegraph were proven correct by the Fifa ethics committee!


  • Comment number 73.

    The corruption which has been unearthed by the Daily Telegraph amongst others, shows that our UK bid, and dream of hosting the World Cup for the first time in half a century, looks set to an uphill battle...or is it? The implications for exposing the individuals within fifa, and the scandal, appeared to be severely damaging for the FA representatives, with many regarding them as unpatriotic, a particular theme amongst those supporting, and involved within the BID itself. This was compounded by the recent plan to continue with the BBC Panorama programme, to be aired only days before the voting is due to be cast.

    It may well be argued, whether our Journalists working on behalf of the Daily Telegraph (and looking further back, to the Lord Triesman scandal)..should be applauded and perhaps respected for their attempt to seek the truth, even if it is indeed only for profitable economic gains. We may well, in a strange sense, feel pride, that we have not cowered in to the demands of the FIFA representatives, and responded at whim to their beck and call.

    However, it has to be said, that despite these recent developments, our BID remains one of the strongest, having good infrastructure and plentiful supply of stadia, which is in contrast to that of similar bids, primarily Russia, whom suffers from transport issues, and Spain/ Portugal, where their combined efforts is likely to result in confusion, and inconsistencies with the standard achieved between the two nations. Although, it remains to be seen, whether such technical reports, provide anything other than a momentary distraction, and may as such be used in any case to support their preconceived views, in justifying the voting members favoured choices.

    The results of the FIFA ethics committee has meant one thing; that is, the UK journalists were right in their assessment of these individuals in question, and as such, this may lead to greater tolerance and sympathy from other voting members, which may if we are lucky swing the vote in our favour.

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    If we do loose the bid, thank's BBC and Panorama (spending public money) to damage the national interests.... hmmmm

  • Comment number 76.

    I personally feel that the Panorama programme should be shown, but not directly before the voting process. It wont be any less in the public interest two weeks later, and also wont destroy our chances of hosting the World Cup. I find it very sad that the media is going to destroy our chances, and then spend weeks trying to cook up conspiracy theories about why we didnt get it.

    Besides which, Panorama has history in football terms for building up allegations that dont actually stand up to scrutiny. The Harry Redknapp tapping theory when they only showed him saying a player was good, springs to mind.

  • Comment number 77.

    for every TV in the country we pay £150 per year to the BBC. If Marc Thompson allows Panorama to scupper England's WC bid by refusing to take it off air until after the vote has taken place, then will he be surprised if millions of viewers find other ways of accessing TV and forego the protection money that is the licence fee for the rest of their lives?

  • Comment number 78.

    FIFA have been given just a little taste of what our media can do, by fair means or foul, so why not remind them of this...if England do not get to host the World Cup, and the reason is then PROVEN to be that uncovering the, um, "interesting things" in FIFA is to blame, then most of the nation will want reprisal.

    And the media will oblige. In fact, I think they'd be ENCOURAGED by most of the football fans here to go to town on exposing FIFA and everyone in it.

    Perhaps Mr Blatter should take that into consideration. If he thinks our media are underhand now...he hasn't seen anything yet. Not when England will have lost the bid based on NON-footballing reasons, which is unfair. Not they have the backing of a nation with righteous anger.

  • Comment number 79.

    Perhaps my original comment (#42) was not as easy to understand as I had hoped. Sarcasm does not translate well over the web and I will attempt to correct it now.

    It is more than peculiar that from the two members caught/entrapped by The Times, one (both?), were supporters of the English bid. It stands to reason that if those two votes were 'purchasable', then, following the English media accusations/logic: Russia, Qatar, Spain & Portugal should have bought those two votes since they were attainable. Yet they were untouched, apparently, siding with the English bid.

    If those bids were corrupt, if these two members were corrupt, how come one (or both members) sided with the 'clean' English bid?

    It's completely illogical that if one group was in the market selling their votes, and another group was in the market purchasing votes, that they somehow ended apart not doing business.

    It's highly unlikely member(s) seeking to profit would side with the clean English bid unless...the England bid was in the market purchasing votes too, minus their noisy press doing a play by play of those 'transactions'.

    Hope that makes my view clearer.

  • Comment number 80.

    The main reason you pay 150 quid is so that the BBC can remain independent and investigate things like this. It's called freedom of the press. If you don't like it, there are plenty of countries that don't have it. Britain tends to invade some of them every now and again.

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    I want the World Cup to come to England! Corrupt officials ruin everything.
    If the World Cup does go to Russia at least we won't get heat stroke or altitude sickness in Russia, so we might do quite we...oh's England. Nevermind!

  • Comment number 83.

    Cut backs in the BBC, frozen TV licence and the Olympics coming up, some might think the BBC might want scupper the bid to save a bit of money as the host broadcaster. Now there is a story Panorama could investigate along with us selecting terrible tunes so we don't win Eurovision. ;)

  • Comment number 84.

    I'm a former broadcast journalist myself and I understand the pressures on the folk at Panorama and the Sunday Times to get decent stories about FIFA corruption once significant time and money has been put into the research.

    I also know that the media in those other countries bidding for the biggest global event of them all have put gaffer tape over their mouths in terms of anything which might upset FIFA at this time. A friend who is a journalist in Barcelona said the news of the ST revelations was met there with stunned, bemused disbelief. Are Spanish people surprised that FIFA is accused of corruption? No. Are they surprised that a British newspaper and broadcaster have chosen this time to air such accusations? They are.

    Mostly they were surprised that no buildings had been set on fire as a result.

    I really wanted the chance to see a World Cup on home soil. Now it will never happen. No amount of bleating about journalistic integrity will make up for it.

  • Comment number 85.

    The BBC is not acting in the public interest by showing Panorama 3 days before the vote. The public, in general, would love the world cup here. They should cancel or postpone the show, maybe just maybe that might win us a few votes back. The show can then be aired any time after the vote, and then I believe it could be argued that we need to know what goes on inside FIFA.

    There are too much shadowy goings on with the bidding process (England included) and it does seem that FIFA delegates have too much self-interest, to put it politely. But the public wants the world cup here and then we can look into FIFA.

    BBC - you are a public service - so listen to the public!

  • Comment number 86.

    This is probably only the tip of the iceberg.

    Lots of dodgy things have happened involving FIFA in recent years they really need to clean up heir act.

    However I can't see this happenneng util the mega rich club owners start using their clout and tell the FIFA hierachy where to get off

  • Comment number 87.

    Why not simply reschedule the Panorama broadcast until immediately after the vote?

  • Comment number 88.

    If FIFA wants to shut up freedom of speech, especially the whistle-blowers pointing to a couple of corruption cases; well, then I don't want WC be held in my country! If anything, I would boycot WC wherever it's held.

  • Comment number 89.

    Why on earth should be BBC be blamed for 'damaging the public interests'? Surely by doing this they are looking out for the public interest, trying to highlight an institutions corruption? I love football and I'd love the World Cup to here but I recognise that some things are more important. I'd rather have a clean FIFA doing things properly and having the game run with sanity behind it than a World Cup in England.

  • Comment number 90.

    39. At 6:20pm on 18 Nov 2010, smellslikesalmon wrote:

    A +1 from me, a fair point put very well. In my personal opinion, I don't really care if we get this world cup or not. I can see these players in the Champs league and weekly at old Trafford and to be fair so can most people if they really wanted to arguably at better prices as well. The world cup often turns out to be a non-event, showcasing the best players in the world certainly, but the best teams? apart from a select few I'm not convinced. As much as I like watching it im not bothered where it is staged. I'd much rather we expose FIFA for any alledged corruption. Give it to Spain, they deserve it on merit.

  • Comment number 91.

    Why is the BBC reporting on the England bid? Are the just gloating that they are going to put the final nail in with their panorama program or is it just a way to advertise it? BBC just seem to be going lower and ower to get ratings. It won't be long until they change their logo to show they are now a red top along with the sun and the daily star.

  • Comment number 92.

    87. At 09:38am on 19 Nov 2010, trigg_27 - Alex song steals hats wrote:
    Why not simply reschedule the Panorama broadcast until immediately after the vote?

    Why do that? It's already had an effect on the voting. Even the mere suggestion of a programme regarding corruption at the holier-than-thou FIFA HQ, to delay it would indicate to FIFA that there is something in there they aren't gonna like! So they aren't gonna vote for us anyway. Get it out in the open, air the programme, lets lose this campaign as martyrs to the cause of openness and fairness.

  • Comment number 93.

    5. At 4:34pm on 18 Nov 2010, DutchGeezer wrote:
    Well - Holland is also bidding along with Belgium, but chances are slim for us.

    Our main 'objection' for FIFA is that we will not suspend legislation, civil nor fiscal. FIFA actually wants to pay no tax whatsoever, specifically for personal spending of officials. You gotta be joking...

    Welll, good riddance - personally I wouldn't even want my country to host it - costs are sky-high and all benefits are for Blatter and his henchmen..


    I agree with you DutchGeezer. Why should we have to grovel to this secretive organisation - us English should tell him to go stuff his world cup where the sun don't shine.

  • Comment number 94.

    Re my original post #16 - I note no-one from the BBC has been on here to justify the date of intended screening of the Panorama programme. I have no problem with the actual program, simply the stupid timing of its intended broadcast. Would it really make any difference to the so-called "public interest" if it was broadcast a fortnight later?
    I see that there is now a Facebook petition to get the BBC to change the broadcast date. Anyone who has any interest in seeing the best sports tournament in the world held on these shores (and I'm not talking Olympics here!) should seek it out.

  • Comment number 95.

    I think some people who are complaining about our press and saying how they've lost us the bid etc are looking at this from the wrong angle. I'm by no means a fan of our press, I think they are bias pests who more often than not talk utter rubbish.

    But do you know what, I'm proud to live in a country where we can have press like this, where people have a genuine freedom of speech and are allowed to investigate to uncover the truth, no matter what that truth results in.

    If we lose the vote because we have annoyed FIFA by exposing them to be the corrupt, pocket liners that they are, then personally I think that's a good thing. I don't want to be a part of that and the bigger picture for me is that I'd much rather be part of a country that has a bit of honesty and integrity, than pander to corrupt clowns for the sake of a month of hosting a World Cup.

    I hope Russia or Spain and Portugal win the World Cup bid, they can have it. Yes, our press do need to reel it in a bit on occasion but really in the grand scheme of things, what have they done wrong here? Like many have said, if FIFA wasn't corrupt and had nothing to hide, there wouldn't be anything to report on. I'd much rather know the truth about people with high (and undeserved) power, than live in a country who choose to ignore it for their own potential short lived benefit.

    This whole thing makes me very proud to be an Englishman.

  • Comment number 96.

    Frank - "Honesty & integrity" are not two words one would normally associate with our press, it's simply a matter of selling the most papers. As for the Panorama programme, as I've said, I've nothing against the subject metter, simply the deliberately provocative timing of its broadcast. Would it not make FIFA squirm more if we had won the bid and then they were bombarded by tv and press about their inherent rottenness?

  • Comment number 97.

    Also, we only get these stories when we're in the bidding war. You don't hear a squeak about alleged corruption when we are not in the running. Why? Because it only sells papers when England have a direct interest.
    PS - I'm typing one-handed after a hand op, so apologies for any typos!

  • Comment number 98.

    Mightblooze - I know our press our not angels by a long shot, but you are missing the point. I don't care when the Panorama programme is aired, I think it's much more important to live in a country with freedom of speech and freedom to investigate the truth than host a world cup.

    Do you seriously want to be part of something where the voters may vote for someone else on the basis that our country is showing a programme trying to show the truth? And do you seriously want to pander to corrupt bodies to the extent of waiting to air that truth a few weeks?

    I certainly don't.

  • Comment number 99.

    these bans are very light. fifa needs to be scrapped. a new organisation put in place without blatter and co.

    as for the bid it will be has paid the voting panel the most. andy anson should get the cheque book out.

  • Comment number 100.

    Frank - all I want is the World Cup here again before I get too old to care. I'm a football fan first, the politics of FIFA can be sorted out later. I repeat again - I have nothing against the Panorama prog, simply its timing. What difference does it make if it's aired after 2nd December?
    There are far more important political shenanigans to be concerned about than FIFA - Burma? Excessive Tory cutbacks? etc etc, so yes, I'm quite willing to do accept the WC (sic) even if it means some shady goings on have been brushed under the carpet.


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