World Cup 2018: BBC are ‘unpatriotic’ over Fifa expose

Martin Caparrotta
By Martin Caparrotta
england 2018 bid
Sepp Blatter said he was "impressed" by England's bid on his visit last month (Crown Copyright)

england 2018 bid

The BBC has come under fire from the head of the England 2018 bid after the broadcaster announced plans to air a programme which makes allegations of corruption within Fifa just three days before the final vote to decide who will host the 2018 World Cup.

It is feared that the Panorama programme, which is due to be broadcast on 29 November, could harm England’s chances ahead of the final vote at the home of Fifa on 2 December.

England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson accused the broadcaster of being “unpatriotic” and “sensationalist” after he voiced his concerns over the timing of the programme with BBC director general Mark Thompson.

“I’m incredibly disappointed with the timing of what the BBC is proposing with Panorama,” said Anson on Wednesday. “If they truly believe there’s a journalistic reason for this, they could have done it any time in the last two years; to do it like this is sensationalism.

“I went to see Mark Thompson. I didn’t ask him for anything but all I said was: ‘Here are the potential implications’.

He added: “It’s not very patriotic of the BBC. They could have done it any time in the last two years or next two years.”

Anson said he hopes the programme, which marks the second investigation into alleged corruption within football’s governing body after the Sunday Times claimed two Fifa executives were willing to sell their votes, will not cause much of a stir.

“The issues seems to be things dealt with by the Swiss courts and by Fifa in the past,” he said. “Maybe we’re overreacting. I’m hoping its an uninteresting and uninspiring programme.”

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