BBC broadcast a special Panorama programme tonight dealing with alleged corruption by four members of the FIFA Executive Committee – Vice Presidents Jack Warner of CONCACAF and  Issa Hayatou of CAF and members Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil and Dr Nicolas Leon of Paraguay.

Three were accused of receiving vast payments from ISL, the marketing company which dealt with FIFA World Cup contracts before it went bankrupt in 2001 and the fourth was accused of receiving payments from the illegal sale of World Cup tickets in 2006.

The programme was broadcast at a highly sensitive time since the vote for the host countries for World Cup 2018 and 2022 will be made on 2nd December.

Previously there had been an investigation by the Sunday Times which provided evidence that another two members of the FIFA Executive were prepared to sell their votes on the World Cup bidding.

These revelations and allegations can only harm the English bid which is the strongest overall among the other European bids for 2018 from Russia, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands.

We live in a democracy in the UK, however, and a fundamental feature of our political system is the freedom of the media.

It will probably cost England the chance to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 but it would be too big a price to our democracy to silence the media, no matter the feeling by many that we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

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