Day: November 30, 2010

Panorama And The World Cup: The Press Speeks Its Branes

“Brainless, Betraying, Cretinous”, screamed The Sun this morning, and so it was that their much-anticipated slating of the BBC after last night’s Panorama began. It took a twin-headed approach – firstly, an apparent “voice of the fans” piece of garbage which was either written by or ghost-written for Ian Wright. It is an article so colossally stupid that, if Wright didn’t write it himself, he might want to have a word with his lawyers about some of the thoughts put forward in it in his name. Quite frankly, they make him sound like somebody that doesn’t have the first idea of what he is talking about above and beyond standing on the sidelines, wrapped in a St Georges Flag and shouting incomprehensibly – something that may sound familiar to anyone that has watched British television coverage of major football tournaments over the last ten or twelve years, or so. Wright’s key contention doesn’t seem to be that the BBC were uncovering corruption within FIFA, rather that they were uncovering the wrong sort of corruption. “I thought the investigator was going to uncover proof of corruption in terms of the Russian or Portuguese and Spanish bids giving bribes to FIFA executive committee members ahead of this week’s vote”, he says, “but there was nothing of the sort”. It doesn’t say a great deal for Wright’s scruples if he is only...

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Panorama: The Right Programme At The Right Time

Have we completely missed the point?  I watched investigative journalist Andrew Jennings’ Panorama programme on extensive bribe-taking among high-ranking FIFA executive committee members (unlike England 2018 bid chief Andy Anson, it would seem). So I find it hard to imagine that any of those named would vote for England to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and I doubt whether England will “get” any World Cup in the lifetime of Sepp Blatter or his fellow-travellers in the FIFA hierarchy – present and future.  But is that really the criteria by which we should be judging the programme? Over the last few days and weeks, the key question amongst many fans and journalists seems to have been, “will exposing a significant proportion of FIFA’s executive committee as bribe-takers mean that these bribe-takers won’t vote for us to have the 2018 World Cup?”, and I strongly believe it is the wrong question.  Jennings’ programme was a good one, albeit with one David Mellor-sized flaw. It contained the new allegations which would justify the airing of such a programme. It exposed major hypocrisies among key players, from FIFA president Joseph S. Blatter to former sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe. And it put forward two clear reasons why it was in the public interest…and in the public interest before the World Cup vote.  Old  The programme’s allegations centred on events which took place between...

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