In the words of Didier Drogba. “It’s a disgrace”
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Leaders of England’s 2018 World Cup bid have written to Fifa distancing themselves from corruption allegations made against football’s world governing body by the British media.
England officials have also pleaded with Fifa’s executive committee to base its decision on the merits of their bid.
The letter, signed by chairman Geoff Thompson and international president David Dein, is the latest attempt to put England’s campaign back on track ahead of the vote on 2 December.
England are facing defeat after a backlash from Fifa members in response to an investigation by the Sunday Times into alleged corruption in the bidding process.
Two executive committee members, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, face a Fifa ethics committee hearing this week into the newspaper’s claims that they were willing to offer their support in return for money for football projects.
Both men have denied any wrongdoing and will fight the allegations during the three-day hearing.
England 2018 also fear they could be damaged by an upcoming BBC Panorama investigation into Fifa, due to be screened on 29 November – only three days before the vote.
Thompson and Dein wrote: “In recent weeks, the role of the British media and its relationship with both Fifa as an organisation and the individual members of the Fifa Executive Committee has come under the spotlight and there has been significant speculation as to the effect that this might have on our bid.
“It has been a difficult time for Fifa and as a member of the football family we naturally feel solidarity with you and your colleagues.
“It is now public knowledge that we have made representations to the BBC regarding a forthcoming documentary they are planning. We are alerting you to fact that the programme appears in part to be raking over allegations some of which are up to 10-years-old and have already been formally dealt with by Fifa and the Swiss courts.
“We hope England’s bid will not be judged negatively due to the activities of individual media organisations, regardless of one’s view of their conduct. We hope you appreciate that we have no control over the British media.” (BBC Sport)
This is frankly sick. The England 2018 bidding team are wholly in the wrong to plead to FIFA in this instance. If they feel that they need to beg the governing body to see that they are in no way involved in the Sunday Times investigation into corruption then there is something even more wrong with Sepp Blatter and co. than we first thought.
If England lose out on hosting the World Cup in 2018 because of the allegations of corruption then it would be a travesty but it would be a huge mistake on FIFA’s part if this was the case and it is not for the bidding team to have to curry favour from an organization that is so warped as to make one wonder why individual nations don’t consider putting together a rival organization in protest.
It was shameful and wrong for David Dein and Geoff Thompson to make an appeal to the BBC to not screen a Panorama programme on the corruption in FIFA and it is doubly shameful to then have to refer to this action in what appears to be a very subservient letter they have sent.
Surely there is something endemically wrong at FIFA if the England bidding team has to send a letter to “plead with Fifa’s executive committee to base its decision on the merits of their bid.” when surely this should be a given and the most basic tenement to any bidding process?
The letter includes the line “We hope you appreciate that we have no control over the British media.” is especially grating. If FIFA does not know that this is the case then we have a problem if they do know that the British media is a law unto themselves then FIFA may well believe they are being accused of being ignorant.
Whichever way you cut it FIFA Executive Committee was never going to hand England the 2018 World Cup and they needed an excuse to make such a decision and if they are going to use the fact that a national newspaper proved there was corruption within the organization then this is something systemically wrong.