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England bid team write to Fifa ahead of 2018 Cup vote

Geoff Thompson
Thompson, the chairman of the bid team, has written to Fifa

By David Bond
BBC sports editor

Leaders of England's 2018 World Cup bid have written to Fifa distancing themselves from corruption allegations made against football's world governing body by the British media.

England officials have also pleaded with Fifa's executive committee to base its decision on the merits of their bid.

The letter, signed by chairman Geoff Thompson and international president David Dein, is the latest attempt to put England's campaign back on track ahead of the vote on 2 December.

England are facing defeat after a backlash from Fifa members in response to an 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.

David Bond on England's World Cup bid

England 2018 also fear they could be damaged by an upcoming BBC Panorama investigation into Fifa, due to be screened on 29 November - only three days before the vote.

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."

We hope England's bid will not be judged negatively due to the activities of individual media organisations

Geoff Thompson and David Dein

In writing the letter, England 2018 hope to have countered any suggestions that they may have somehow colluded with the Sunday Times or BBC investigations. They also hope to have demonstrated to the Fifa members that they are part of the football family.

While some may have questioned the sympathy shown to the Fifa members by Thompson and Dein, they have been careful not to overtly criticise the British media. The bid leaders have also made it clear that they have no control over the media.

This is the crucial point they have sought to get across. They believe it would be extremely unfair to judge England's bid on the basis of the way the country's media operates.

It is a sign of how badly the bid team believe they have been damaged by events of the last month that a letter like this has been sent to Fifa.

It is understood Dein was encouraged to do it following a meeting with the Fifa president Sepp Blatter in Zurich last week.

Media could make or break 2018 bid - Brooking

England face coming third behind Russia and a joint bid from Spain and Portugal unless they can mount a dramatic fightback.

This 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.

Unusually, Fifa has called an emergency executive committee meeting for Friday to discuss the findings.

Fifa's inspection report on each of the bids has also been sent out and will be published this week with England expected to be given a low risk rating.

If Fifa's ethics committee gives weight to the Sunday Times claims by getting tough with the two members currently suspended and there is a good response to the letter and the inspection report, then England may feel they can still get back into the race.

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see also
Fifa row has hit England 2018 bid
04 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa official condemns vote sting
02 Nov 10 |  African
Fifa widens Cup bidding inquiry
18 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa row 'will not hurt England'
18 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa examines vote selling claims
17 Oct 10 |  Football
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football
World Cup bids head-to-head
17 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa warning on World Cup votes
21 Sep 10 |  Football
England withdraw bid for 2022 Cup
15 Oct 10 |  Football
Blatter holds 2018 Cameron talks
13 Oct 10 |  Football
Russia deny England bid criticism
19 Oct 10 |  Football

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