BBC Panorama Investigation Accuses Three FIFA Officials of Taking Bribes

Surprise surprise. FIFA linked with claims of corruption. Never saw that coming!

Three senior Fifa officials who will vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids took bribes in the 1990s, according to the BBC’s Panorama.

Nicolas Leoz, Issa Hayatou and Ricardo Teixeira took the money from a sport marketing firm awarded lucrative World Cup rights, the programme alleges.

The alleged bribes are included in a confidential document listing 175 payments totalling about $100m (£64m).

The three men did not respond to Panorama’s allegations.

Fifa, world football’s governing body, also declined interview requests to address the allegations.

Panorama, to be broadcast later, also reports on evidence of a fourth senior Fifa executive’s continued involvement in the resale of World Cup tickets to touts.

The BBC has received criticism over the timing of the programme, which comes ahead of Thursday’s vote by Fifa’s executive committee on who will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals.

England is competing with Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium to host the 2018 tournament.

The BBC has defended the timing of Panorama, saying the programme is in the public interest. (BBC Sport)

The BBC has taken a fair bit of criticism over their airing of a Panorama programme, which is being shown later tonight, and this report on the findings will surely anger FIFA but isn’t it time people turned their attentions away from how the broadcasting network chooses to handle the vexed issue of the corruption within the football governing body and start dealing with the manner in which Sepp Blatter and co are handling the game.

Clearly the BBC is in the business of trying to increase viewership so will plan programming accordingly and it seems to me that those who feel that the Beeb is acting against the interest of the England 2018 bid would be better served wondering why such programmes should affect the decision making process which is supposed to be based solely on the suitability of a nation to host the showpiece event.

If England do not win the bid then people should not lay their anger at the BBC’s door but should instead pile the pressure on FIFA and look to force the organization into change.

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