England blast fresh claims
Fifa members accused of corruption ahead of vote
Last Updated: 01/12/10 10:09am
England 2018 have insisted they remain focused on winning the World Cup bid after three Fifa executive committee members were accused of corruption.
The Panorama documentary, broadcast on Monday evening, alleged that Issa Hayatou, Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz had previously taken bribes.
African confederation president Hayatou, whose vote England 2018 had high hopes of capturing, Brazil's Terra Teixeira and Leoz of Paraguay are all part of the 22-man committee which will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts on Thursday.
But the programme has now been criticised over the timing of the screening as the allegations have nothing to do with World Cup votes and all relate to payments made between 21 and 11 years ago by the collapsed company ISL, which had been awarded the marketing rights to successive World Cups by Fifa.
Under Swiss law at the time, the payment of such sweeteners was not illegal.
Fifa vice-president Jack Warner is also subject of accusations that he 'ordered [2010 World Cup] tickets costing 84,240 US dollars from the Fifa ticket office but the deal subsequently fell through'.
England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson reiterated his displeasure at the decision to proceed with the Panorama programme earlier on Monday and the BBC has now been labelled an 'embarrassment' in an official statement from the bid team.
"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 statement.
"It should be seen as an embarrassment to the BBC.
"The 2018 team are entirely focused on winning the bid for England."
England are up against Russia, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium for 2018, with Australia, Japan, USA, South Korea and Qatar bidding for 2022.
There were fears that the Panorama programme could damage England's chances, although Fifa had no immediate comment on the reports.
Fifa is currently attempting to determine if the Oceania Federation can replace their suspended president Reynald Temarii on the executive committee, which would make it 23 voting members.
Temarii, from Tahiti, and Nigeria's Amos Adamu were both suspended following a Sunday Times investigation, but both have announced their intention to appeal.