England bid team write to Fifa ahead of 2018 Cup vote
November 15, 2010
(Source: BBC): 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.”
“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.”
If Fifa’s ethics committee gives weight to the Sunday Times claims by getting tough with the two members currently suspended and there is a good response to the letter and the inspection report, then England may feel they can still get back into the race.