England bid team slams ‘embarrassing’ Panorama

SENIOR members of England’s 2018 World Cup bid team have reacted furiously to BBC Panorama’s investigation into Fifa and branded the programme “an embarrassment”.

Panorama accused three Fifa executive committee members of taking bribes, and alleged that Fifa vice-president Jack Warner made efforts to supply ticket touts.

Warner is the subject of accusations that he “ordered [2010 World Cup] tickets costing $84,240 from the Fifa ticket office but the deal subsequently fell through”.

An England 2018 statement said: “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. It should be seen as an embarrassment to the BBC.”

The Panorama programme has been criticised over the timing of the screening with the 2018 World Cup host nation set to be annouced on Thursday.

But Uefa President Michel Platini insisted last night that the controversial show would not have a detremental impact on England’s chances of winning the vote.

He said: “I don’t think this [programme] will have an effect, but I think what may affect the decision is the atmosphere going back a long time and what people have written about Fifa in the British press for years.”