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BBC OnePanorama


Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
The Beautiful Bung: Corruption and the World Cup
Panorama's reporter Andrew Jennings

Reporter Andrew Jennings answers your questions to him about his investigation.

"I'm overwhelmed by the huge response to our programme. One of the biggest ever to a Panorama. When licence payers care this much and ask us so much, they deserve answers.

Much as I need to creep away and sleep for a year, I've tried to answer nearly every message. Of course, I give my personal opinion, not an official Beeb comment. Before getting into that, let's do the credits. You only saw me on screen but should know the whole team. Assistant producer James Oliver brought his laser intelligence to every word and idea.

Cameraman Steve 'Rock-steady' Foote didn't just do the pictures. He did the sound as well. Look back at every sequence of fast-moving action. No camera shake there. Nothing out of focus, even when we were running. It's a privilege for a reporter to work with this kind of talent.

When we got back to base, film editor Adam Richardson cut the tapes with verve, nerve and splendid style. He worked through the night too many times in the last week and intuitively dubbed on a perfect music track. Miles Davies and Northern Soul and more.

Producer Roger Corke didn't only lend me his Panama hat. He created the whole concept of the film and made it work. This kind of programme, with most witnesses scared to be seen on camera, needs special visual skills and Rodger the Dodger provided them. He learned them at Granada's World In Action, a great programme assassinated by ratings-chasing ITV bosses.

We'd never have got on the road without the courage of Editor Mike Robinson to commission us> He thought Colombo and didn't expect some Clouseau. And we couldn't have kept going without the remorseless support of deputy editor Andy Bell. We called him night and day from faraway places and his wisdom kept us out of trouble. He also learned his tradecraft at World In Action.

The appropriately named Roger Law from the BBC legal department told us our parameters. I've worked with Roger on and off during 25 years and he's that special kind of media lawyer who tells you what you can't say and then explains how the same thing can be said, safely. And he doesn't mess up a fast-moving script with legal jargon.

We shifted locations, hotels (once we landed in a Zurich brothel for 4 nights but it was cheap and saved on budget), travelled on trains, planes and rental vans at a moment's notice and always Irene, Amanda, Julia and Mala in the back office fixed it fast. Somewhere, in the Beeb stratosphere, above the level inhabited by hacks like me, were the suits who have to worry about the corporation's relationships with FIFA. I know they worried but they didn't flinch. Whoever you are, thanks for your confidence. That's how we capped five years sapping research. Now, over to you. Thanks Colin McCulloch and Balwant and Naveen and William Mccafferty, Ruthin, for your kind comments. And also Imran, James Mulcahy, Roy South.

No, I don't give up despite the threats.

To Rick Hughes, Bolton and Clive in Tavira and Paul Holland, Barnsley, I take the view that only the police and courts can sort out FIFA.

And thanks to Cunnind in La Chatre, France. I'm glad you found the programme 'compelling.' And praise like that from Barry Hughes, Espiet, France, and so many others keeps us back on the road researching. And from Rosa. Thanks to you.

Paul van Overhagen, Utrecht asks how the investigation was carried out. FIFA has taken five non-stop years of my life, finding sources who can tell me the truth, documents and always trying to raise the money to keep investigating. But we got here!

And thanks also to Stephen Sills, Ashby de la Zouch for your support and Haydn Williams, Llangain, Carmarthenshire. Likewise to Angela, West Lancashire, and Ken Collins, Sunderland, and Pritesh Shah, Kew. Don't be frustrated, find your local FA rep and give them hell and make sure it goes up the feeding chain to Soho Square. Write to your local paper, fanzines and football mags.

And thanks to Mark Todd, Cardiff, M Burgess, St Albans and Steve Robinson, Bolsover. I won't give up on FIFA. But I can't take credit for the great music track. That was chosen by our marvellous film editor, Adam Richardson. Hey, and more praise for Adam's wonderful taste from Dick Dale, Burslem.

William Johnston, Carrickfergus, asks if I have looked at the English FA? I think they need pressure from the fans to push for change at FIFA. And pigs can fly.

And thanks to Alan, London. Too much money is distorting the game.

Mervyn Robinson, Ballymena, hits the button when he asks who can make FIFA accountable?

Julian Hensey, Owlpen is very kind, thanks. There's a timeline of the relevant FIFA events in my book. In the autumn I'll add some interesting documents to my website.

And Gavin Patterson, Morecambe, thank you. Support us and your BBC and we'll bring the stories nobody else will touch.

And Gary Angell, Shefford your support is valued by us. Same gratitude to Keith Mullins, Saffron Walden. And thanks Disgusted Ex Cop, Wrexham. I learned a lot from honest cops in past years. Some in retirement still advise.

Roland Buchel in Switzerland asks about repayment of the bribes. We went as far as the documents we acquired would take us. Now it's up to Investigating Magistrate Thomas Hildbrand.

Neil Garbett, Congleton, wants more fuss about the allegations. You could ask the sports news reporters on your favourite newspaper about their priorities.

Tarek Baccar, Farnborough, Hampshire, asks about the vote for 2010. There was no room in this action-packed film but it's in my book.

Martin Pollecoff, Harlech, says kind things. Thanks and why not email FIFA with your question? A million such emails might get a response.

Geoff Boden, Skelmersdale, asks 'Why does FIFA exist' and some might think it was for a great lifestyle for officials.

Thanks to Ronald Wotherspoon, Glasgow, for your appreciation. And thanks also to Peter Kinlochan, Alresford and Dave Mitchell, Spennymoor.

Mark Craig, Romsey, is generous with his praise. Sadly, Lennart Johansson can't see what happened to him and merely says he isn't 'a bad loser.'

With that attitude we all lose to any vote-riggers. But Johansson is honest and so is David Will. But do they do enough? Email and ask them.

Pierre-Andre Labeau, Buizingen, Belgium makes a good point about the way FIFA responds to questions.

Bill Clark, Falkirk, wants more media coverage of these issues. It seems that too many sports news reporters cherish their access to FIFA officials more than their responsibility to their readers and listeners. I hope Panorama has done the job as well as we should.

Frank O'Neill, Aylesbury, thinks the FA should be asking questions. So do I. The man to ask is David Will, FIFA vice-president representing the four home nations. Same reply to Bob Brown, London. And thanks to Simon Woods, Dronfield about the lack of idealism in the game.

Anna Wright (nee Ainscough), London, asks if other sports marketing companies are concerned. Anna, didn't we work together years ago at World In Action?

In my book I tell the story of the protests from IMG when FIFA gave them the runaround. But most companies keep quiet if they want any contracts. Carl Parker, London, is right when says Tom Bower wrote a great book.

Comments by Roger Williams, Llanfairfechan, make all the hard work worthwhile.

And the same to Yun Zhou, Sheffield. Here's a tip for when you finish your journalism studies. Never believe the press release and always go digging.

Thanks to James, Watford. Justice won't come unless fans speak up. Go for it and I'll go on digging for the information you need.

Alistair Newlands, Brentwood, is smart to notice the Colombo coat. That was the great idea of Panorama Editor Mike Robinson who commissioned the programme. I fear sometimes I was as much Clouseau. Alistair, only active and noisy fans will bring change. Go for it!

Ellie Stewart, North Yorkshire thanks for such supportive words. There's one in the pump for you. Same to Graham Carpenter, Windsor, Berkshire. Mind, if I bought a drink for everyone who has sent such wonderful messages I'd be broke. But we'd have fun and plenty to celebrate. With your support and the licence fee we can do the stories you need to know.

More support for the BBC from Pierre-Andre Labeau, Buizingen, Belgium. I'd better start doing some work on that. Thanks for the nudge. Thanks Caroline Campbell, Brighton. I was on World In Action for years. ITV closed it down along with TV Eye, First Tuesday and a host of great investigative programmes. It's not right that only Panorama and some other excellent BBC programmes have survived in this kind of public service journalism. Never forget that ITV turned World In Action into a high ratings celeb show.

Oh, Davy C, London you are right about holding individual FIFA officials to account. But who else will do this except a few journalists and the fans?

Shucks Mark F, Hull. I'm blushing. We were only doing the job you expect of us. Panama hats off to you too, mate.

Chris Loxston, Newcastle, asks about tickets. Chris I think there may be rackets everywhere with this precious commodity. Mark R, Chester, says 'That was the best Panorama program I have seen in a long time.' Thanks but all the shows are important and very carefully prepared by top class people. I'm pleased that Nicolas Batista, Birmingham, enjoyed my book as well. Platini, nice man but out of his depth in sports politics.

Angela Suleman from Ilford says she complained to FIFA about Jack Warner and tickets and got no reply. Who is surprised?

Jeremy Powell, Bury St Edmunds, about Warner and South Africa. I try to explain in my book how I believe Mandela was exploited by Warner.

Hi Declan, Middlesex. I think you were watching another show. I never commented on how Trinidad and Tobago got to Germany. And I'm not English. I'm Scottish so guess who I wanted to win in Nuremburg. That being said, look at the way Uzbekistan was defeated by the referee, sending weak Bahrain through to play your superior team.

Hi to Lawrence Samaroo, London. The script is on our website and I hope a TV company in Trinidad will show the programme.

Trevor Watkins, Polegate wonders about the Trinidad government and Jack Warner. To me, they appear to be watching and waiting. Warner seems to be destroying the UNC - the opposition political party he funds.

Jim Brennan from Glasgow has a point. If you can't trust FIFA's financial reporting, what else is suspect about the very conduct of the World Cup?

Nick from Reading wonders where the English FA (and others of the for home nations) stand on corruption allegations at FIFA. Try asking themand see what reply you get.

K Kimbugwe, from Bromley hopes that governments and national associations will make FIFA more accountable. They appear to me to be cowed by FIFA. Governments are scared to intervene. It's not a happy situation. The only answer is to write to MPs and pressure your national association to be more responsible.

Andy Kershaw, Ashington, West Sussex, wants to know the truth and only the fans through letter-writing campaigns to sponsors and national associations will ever bring action.

Terry Blakemore, Nr Windsor, is right. FIFA needs independent scrutiny. Their accounts are audited by KPMG and I take them to chartered accountants who tell me they cannot find the key information, such as Blatter's salary, that we are entitled to know.

Kevin, London, asks if FIFA money is used correctly. Look at my book chapter on Antigua scandals and note there have been no demands for returning missing money.

Tom in Argentina asks why the EU does not take on FIFA. Few public authorities do. Why not write to the EU sports Commissioner and put your question?

J Ross, Devizes, wonders what the FA and UEFA can do? My personal view is that they know what needs doing but don't want to rock the boat. Blatter is hugely powerful, has many good jobs to hand out. It's up to the fans.

Adam Haigh, London, asks how FIFA can be made more transparent. I think that governments and the courts can reform FIFA. The national associations get too many World Cup tickets to care. And to Daniel, London, the fans could boo every blazer until reform is promised!

Diarmuid Hayes, Dublin, wonders about the number of CONCACAF teams at the World Cup. It may or may not be fair but it seems to me that every decision at FIFA is political, to benefit Blatter and Warner.

Steve, Rotherham says the programme was 'silly' and I support his right to free speech.

Richard Mannin, London, asks about David Yallop's 1998 book. No, I do all my own research and my disclosures, in this film and in my book, are all new.

Harry Sideras, Birmingham, thought the programme was repetitive and the doorsteps 'inconclusive' and I don't agree. But thanks Harry for bothering to tell us what you think.

ToPaul Grech, Gibraltar, maybe ISL paid too much in bribes. They also made some very bad commercial decisions. Daniel John, Ealing, London, wonders if 'they' will get away with it. That's down to Magistrate Hildbrand. I've given up with the national associations.

Steven Keegan, Sale, Cheshire, wonders about change. Chase the sports news reporters to do their job and the national associations. Ray Kyte, Wolverhampton, you ask about the English FA. Can't you hear the silence from Soho Square?

Ken Strain, Ascot, wonders how we can get the names of the bribe takers. I'm working on it and we got nearer than anybody ever has (who has ever tried?) in our programme. That's what you pay your licence fee for. Magistrate Hildbrand is burrowing away and when there's more, I'll report it, probably exclusively. When I can, I'll give advance notice on my personal website. Also, send this request to David Will and UEFA. Let me know their answers.

Hello to Jimmy Scahill, Liverpool. It's Warner, not Trinidad, who controls 35 votes. We have to help the little island countries escape his grip.

Peter Curnow, Theydon Bois, wonders about the World Cup format. It won't change while the current FIFA regime holds power.

I can't yet tell Ray Hall, Stone, if there will be dubious decisions in this World Cup, as there seemed to be in 2002. I don't know if or when Hildbrand will bring charges. He moves very cautiously. But he's active every day compiling his case.

For Joanne Edwards, Hove, East Sussex, the answer is harangue the senior editors and go above the sports desks of the newspapers that can't be bothered to tell you the kind of disclosures that Panorama specialises in.

The programme has a big staff of the most able and experienced investigative reporters, producers, cameramen and film editors and back-up office in Britain, all working for you. One of the best in the world. The team that worked with me on the road, often 16 hours a day for the last five months, are now severely fatigued. We value your praise. We've done all we can. Now you tell the newspapers to do better.

David Smith, Cambridge and Phil, Sheffield and Benny, Antwerp, Belgium, asks who now controls World Cup rights. For 2006 it is the Infront company who have just selected a new CEO. Philippe Blatter, nephew of Sepp, take a bow!

Robert Loughnane, Galway, Rep Of Ireland, my wife's family live near you. Maybe we take a beer sometime when I'm in the West. To answer your question. I was banned because FIFA feared that when I asked questions based on my research, other reporters might wake up and take note. And they can't answer my questions as you saw in the programme.

Stephen Smith, Wirral makes a good point about the lack of documentation on screen. One problem in making this kind of programme is that sources are reluctant to allow documents out of their hands. Be assured, every allegation was checked by top-class BBC lawyers. I stake my personal reputation on this programme. I've been doing this for 36 years and I'd hate to get anything wrong. In addition, a lot of the documents are in German. But there is good news. In the autumn I will be putting a lot of documents on my website and I think you will be reassured.

Hello Laurel from Maryland! I know who you are! And I'm delighted you contacted the BBC. You ask if FIFA can be reformed. Personally, I don't think so. Is this one for the UN to step in on? I hope folks think about it. There has to be an answer. And big hugs to the Big Fella.

Bobby, London, wonders if governments should dissolve FIFA. I think he knows the answer to this question. Yes.

John Bailey, London, wonders why the BBC pays so much money to FIFA? The BBC fought hard against the first extortionate demands and got the price substantially reduced.

David Wright asks who supports Blatter? It's a long answer and I hope it's in my book. Divide and rule, supplies of World Cup tickets and great trips to stay in great hotels can't hurt Blatter's vote. Michael Parker asks about groups of countries represented at FIFA. They are and little good happens. But they eat great meals.

Peter Weaver asks about my website. It is

It is new and will grow in the months to come. Bear with me. But do look at the Bonus photograph and your blood may run cold. They never wanted you to know this. And I got a five day suspended jail sentence in Lausanne for my allegation.

Answers to Bradley Hammond, St. Albans. ISL went bust because of the soaring cost of bribes and stupid management. Yes, BBC Sport is allowed into FIFA press conferences. I work with two great German journalists, Jens Weinreich from Berlin and Thomas Kistner from Munich. Jean-Francois Tanda in Zurich does very classy FIFA investigations and helped a lot with this film. Recently football players are contacting me but have to be careful about the officials finding out.

Hi Barry Futers, Sawtry Cambridgeshire. You ask about the choice of Germany. I've heard some lurid stories and some are in my book. But more digging required.

Gordon Macniven, London, asks about UK FIFA representatives. I suggest you try asking them direct. If you ever get a reply do let me know. They declined to appear.

John Spencer, London, wonders why other reporters didn't support Andy Davies inside the FIFA press conference. So do I.

A Viewer, Scotland thinks I was biased saying that 1966 was a triumph for England. It was a triumph for the English and I was born in Methil! My taking pictures is what reporters like me do and a great device for cueing video. Did I ask Blatter one time too many if he was a fit and proper person? Probably yes but these attempts to get answers on the run are tough to get right. Point taken.

Thanks to Alan Ferguson, London. I will pursue this story. Check my website in a few weeks and I'll try to do more. Certainly in the autumn. Nice thought from Pucho Boedo but if I took an airship over German stadiums FIFA would really shoot me down.

No to Peter Jones, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, I don't think the Swiss police will cover this one up - if they can get enough evidence.

Adrian, Sheffield knows there's corruption everywhere. The answer? Transparency and then a lot more of it. FIFA says it is transparent. Judge for yourself.

Chris, St Helens, Merseyside, asks if I was 'monitored' by FIFA? Somebody tried hard to get my phone records, bad stories were planted about me, attempts were made by somebody to get my bank records and most national newspaper sports news reporters swallowed the FIFA press releases.

Kenneth Wright, Edinburgh, asks why governments are silent. Can this be because they want to host the World Cup and the Olympics?

Anthony Gould, Watford, wants to know who else got ISL bribes? I have some evidence on this and hope to publish more later this year.

David Daglish, Coatbridge asks why only the Swiss police are investigating. Magistrate Hildbrand has been assisted in five other countries but the alleged crimes were committed in Switzerland.

Graham, Newton Abbot hopes we will tell more if there are court cases. Watch this space.

Graham Oldreive, Suva, Fiji Islands, hopes the programme will be shown internationally. Many countries have expressed interest in buying it. Write to your local TV station and press and demand this.

Ian Neill, Swansea, and Andrew Scarrott, Tamworth, thanks for your messages. We'll keep on working.

Duncan Henderson, London, asks if the anonymous source filmed in the programme will give evidence to the police. He already has.

Barry Chapman, Manchester asks about Britain's representative, David Will, at FIFA. Try and ask him the questions Barry at davidmargwill@aol.com . Let me know the reply.

Alistair Pollard, Exeter, wants to contact Sepp Blatter. Try FIFA's director of communication Markus Siegler (you saw him in the film threatening to throw Andy Davies out of the press conference) at markus.siegler@fifa.org.

Alistair also wants to write to Jack Warner. Try him at jawfifa@aol.com.

And thanks too for Rob, Essex, and Michael Bush, Rotherham. All of us at the Beeb appreciate your support. And yes, Robert Rea, London, I did mis-pronounce Soca Warriers. I should know better, the amount of time I've spent in Trinidad. For the record I should have said 'Soh-ca'. Apologies to you, Trinidad and my friends in the squad.

Stuart Gregory, Abercynon, Wales, wants to contact his MP. Do so. The only one I've encountered who really cares is Derek Wyatt. Peter, London, you are so cheeky! I made the programme because it seemed the right thing to do and not because of the FIFA ban. Good luck.

I'm so proud that this programme has brought so much goodwill to Panorama. Thanks Kris, Wokingham, Simon, Sheffield, Ian Johnson, Brussels and Kenneth Good, Glasgow. I don't think it is for me to comment on the suggestion that I should become controller of the BBC. But I don't mind. Let the licence-payers speak!

Yet more thanks to Graham Debling, Margate, Kent, William Kelly, Dumfries, Jonesy, Wales and to Paul. I really believe in licence payer-funded, independent, advertisement-free public service broadcasting. It provides the framework for this kind of journalism. Mark Slade thought this a 'terrible documentry, poorly done. Rubbish' and I would be cross if the Beeb didn't publish his opinion. Thanks anyway Mark for watching.

Bastiaan Brak, Leamington Spa, liked the show but was unhappy about screening the Adidas advert. I offer the thought that we had to show the powerful messages wrapped around the World Cup by the sponsors. If the corruption troubles you, write to the sponsors.

Naveed, Glasgow asks which is more corrupt, FIFA or the IOC. You pays your money and you makes your choice.

I had a small involvement in the brilliant Panorama programme made by reporter Justin Rowlatt, assistant producer Matthew Mervyn-Jones and producer Howard Bradbur, that exposed a number of IOC members, especially Bularia's Ivan Slavkov and associates as corrupt.

Eric Dickens, Netherlands (expat Brit) is a regular Panorama viewer and I'm glad he liked this one as well. Support from viewers is vital if we are to stay on the air in these difficult times when public service broadcasting is under attack from commercial interests. Mike Slater, West Midlands, thinks I am a 'little terrier trying to get evidence.' That's a real compliment for an ageing hack.

James Conduit, Billericay, Essex liked the programme but worried that the programme might hurt the England team. He might have a point, given some of the political decisions in 2002. Read my book about discipline committee chairman Marcel Mathier and watch like hawks. Yasir Ahmad, Blackburn thinks the amount of money in football now makes kickbacks inevitable. Yasir, you hit the button.

KH, Rochdale, wonders if this is now a 'corporate world cup'. Now there's a thought.

Thanks for all the responses. Thanks for bothering to contact us. We listen acutely to our viewers. Now all the team need a rest. Thank you, Andrew.

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