Wikileaks’ recent claims that Prince Andrew launched an expletive-laden attack against British anti-corruption investigators and journalists for getting in the way of lucrative trade deals, is seen as a shocking state of affairs for the country. Now England 2018 Chief Executive Andy Anson has denounced the BBC (the Beeb) as an “embarrassment” after they aired a controversial documentary.
The Panorama documentary, broadcast on Monday evening, alleged that African confederation president Issa Hayatou, Brazil’s Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz had taken bribes in the past 11 to 21 years.
Hayatou, whose vote England 2018 had high hopes of capturing, Teixeira and Leoz are all part of the 22-man committee which will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts on Thursday. The trio are suspected of taking bribes in an alleged scandal involving around £64m of secret payments.
The issue is that Panorama’s allegations have nothing to do with World Cup votes and relate to a collapsed company called ISL, which at the time had been awarded marketing rights to successive World Cups by Fifa. In essence, what purpose did the documentary serve in boosting the national bid, particularly when the allegations have nothing to do with Thursday’s vote?
“We stand by our previous position that the BBC’s Panorama did nothing more than rake over a series of historical allegations none of which are relevant to the current bidding process,” said the bidding team’s statement.
“It should be seen as an embarrassment to the BBC.
“The 2018 team are entirely focused on winning the bid for England.”
England faces stiff competition to secure the hosting rights against Russia, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium for 2018, with Australia, Japan, USA, South Korea and Qatar bidding for 2022.
England’s bid has received significant praise from Fifa President Sepp Blatter, as a new film showcasing the bid’s proposals for a ‘Football United’, a global fund for football. It is led by David Beckham and involves a number of players plying their trade in English football. They include England captains Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard, Ghana stars Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan, Honduran midfielder Wilson Palacios and Brazilian defender Alex.
In reality England should have no problem in securing the rights to host 2018. They already boast world class stadiums and the proud heritage as inventors of the game; they haven’t hosted the tournament in 50 years; they showcase the most popular league in world football and their transport, police and accommodation systems are first-rate. It should be a cinch.
However, with the public broadcaster’s royal cock-up, it certainly appears that England are doing everything they can to lose as many votes as possible. Of course the Beeb are keeping mum about their current status as an “embarrassment” and stand by the relevance of the documentary’s allegations.
We certainly haven’t heard the end of England’s latest misfortune and it all helps make Thursday that little bit more riveting.
Image via sportindustry.biz
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