England 2018 bid seeks to reassure FIFA

Leaders of the England 2018 World Cup bid have written to FIFA in an attempt to distance themselves from corruption allegations made in the British media.

A letter signed by bid chairman Geoff Thompson and international president David Dein was delivered to FIFA, as bid leaders seek to ensure the decision on who will host the competition is based solely on merit.

The vote takes place on December 2nd, with England up against Russia, Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal in the race to host the event.

Despite being positioned as the early favourite, England are now facing defeat after a backlash from FIFA members against am 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 November 29th- only three days before the vote.

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In the letter to FIFA 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.

“It is now public knowledge that we have made representations to the BBC regarding a forthcoming documentary they are planning. We are alerting you to fact that the programme appears in part to be raking over allegations some of which are up to 10-years-old and have already been formally dealt with by FIFA and the Swiss courts.

“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.”

This coming week promises to be a critical with the ethics committee due to publish its findings on Amadu and Temarii on Wednesday.

The committee will also rule on claims that Spain and Portugal have agreed a voting alliance with Qatar, who are bidding for the 2022 World Cup finals.

The vote on who will host the 2022 competition is also scheduled for December 2nd.