England 2018 Warned FIFA of World Cup Bid Sting

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(WFI) England's World Cup bid team warned FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke in September of a fake American lobbying company that turned out to be undercover Sunday Times journalists working on the story that rocked world football's governing body to its foundations.

On Wednesday, the FIFA ethics committee will decide on the fate of Ex-co members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii who were captured on film by covert Sunday Times reporters allegedly requesting inappropriate inducements in return for their votes on World Cup bid D-day. The revelations in the paper led to their suspension from the FIFA Executive pending an investigation by the ethics panel.

But three weeks before the newspaper published its story, England 2018 tipped FIFA off that a fake company was operating.

England 2018 was unaware at the time that the company was a mask for the Sunday Times investigation, but it warned Valcke that the company operating on the fringes of the "FIFA family" had aroused its suspicions. It kept Valcke up to date as it conducted its own investigations into the bogus company. There is no suggestion that England 2018 knew of or was involved with the reports.

On Sept. 30, one day after England 2018 wrote to Valcke, a letter was circulated among the FIFA executive warning them to be vigilant. On Oct. 17, the Sunday Times printed its expose.

England 2018 warning to Valke has come to light as it emerged that bid chairman Geoff Thompson and international president David Dein have written to all FIFA executive committee members in an attempt to clarify the bid's relationship with its highly critical domestic media and address concerns ahead of a forthcoming BBC documentary on FIFA.

"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," the pair write.

"The England bid stands on its own above any such activities, representing our country as a whole, and the millions of fans who are desperate to see a World Cup in England.

"As such we have run a professional and vigorous campaign always conducted within FIFA guidelines.

"Concern over what the future might hold for FIFA in its relationship with the British media if we were to be successful should also be dismissed.

"We are sure that FIFA would receive a positive reception and can use this unprecedented platform to generate increased awareness for its partners and stakeholders and the promotion of the game globally."

Thompson and Dein go on to praise the unprecedented overall coverage that the British media afford the game and "emphasise it has a huge positive impact and can be a powerful force for change for the global football family."

They also acknowledge their widely reported representations to BBC director general Mark Thompson about the Panorama programme and their concerns about it.

There will, nevertheless, surely be eyebrows raised at BBC headquarters about their assertion 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".

INSIDER understands that such claims are wide of the mark and that production on the documentary is ongoing.

INSIDER’s James Corbett

England Expects by James Corbett -- THE definitive history of the England football team, fully revised and updated. Order here!

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