PtG Article 18.11.2010

England’s bid committee and Government lash out at BBC over FIFA-critical documentary

Senior figures in the British Government think that the BBC should consider cancelling a documentary about FIFA corruption out of concern for England’s bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Downing Street's opposition is based on the belief that the Panorama investigation will not uncover any fresh evidence of corruption in the 2018-2022 bidding race, but will instead focus on well-documented allegations that could simply antagonise potential supporters of the England bid, including FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Also the English bid committee has called the BBC ‘unpatriotic’.

Earlier this week, the bid committee wrote to all members of FIFA’s executive committee to distance themselves from the Panorama investigation and plead that the bid be judged on its merits.

Bid chief executive Andy Anson argued that he was “incredibly disappointed with the timing of what the BBC seem to be proposing with Panorama”.

"If they truly believe there is a journalistic reason to run this programme, then they could have done it any time in the last two years. To do it the week before the vote is about one thing and that's sensationalism. I don't think that's helpful and I don't think it's patriotic."

SOURCES: The Telegraph & Sport Business