Tonight the BBC does its bit to support the England 2018 World Cup Bid with a Panorama programme titled, “FIFA’s Dirty Secrets”. This obviously in-depth 29 minute masterpiece of journalism, “…investigates corruption allegations against some of the FIFA officials who will vote on England’s World Cup bid. Reporter Andrew Jennings exposes new evidence of bribery, and accuses some executives of taking kickbacks. He also uncovers the secret agreements that could guarantee FIFA a financial bonanza if England hosts the World Cup…”
Now will the producers be gathering last minutes facts and interviews before a last ditch edit to ensure the programme goes out at 20:30? Of course not. This piece of work from the Panorama will have long been in the can and ready to show. Why if this programme is as the BBC say, so necessary for the public interest, was it not transmitted before now? The reason, pure and simple, is about the egos within the Panorama team and the BBC wanting the programme to have maximum exposure and controversy, so will put it out just 3 days before the FIFA decision.
If the BBC is so concerned about the publics moral welfare, why didn’t they submit their “evidence” along with the Sunday Times expose to FIFA at the recent Ethics Committee hearing in Zurich? Simple, they want their own slice of the action. It’s rather like a witness withholding evidence until a time that benefits them. The other alternative is that the programme doesn’t actually hold water so has nothing to say based on fact and instead the audience will be treated to less than half an hour of suggestion, speculation, hearsay, coincidence, rumours and assumptions.
Events such the FIFA World Cup are protected under the terms of Independent Television Committee Code on Sports and Other Listed Events. This seeks to ensure that listed events are available to watch on free-to-air channels. For the 2010 World Cup in South Africa ITV and BBC shared the UK coverage.
Whether or not England is successful on Thursday, how wonderful would it be if the Government decided that from 2014 sporting rights for the listed events had to be bid for by ITV, BBC, Channel 4 and Five. The Bid would be to gain a contract to share the listed events for the next 20 years. Let’s see how the BBC would enjoy having their Bid put under scrutiny and damaging articles about the BBC’s Senior Managers and Sports departments spread all over the media just days before the contract is awarded.
As France found out in South Africa, after their controversial World Cup Play-Off win over Ireland – what goes around comes around. Who knows what is ahead for the BBC?