BBC not responsible for affect on World Cup bid, says Trust

The BBC Trust has ruled that the Corporation was right to air Panorama’s ‘Fifa’s Dirty Tricks’ documentary, dismissing a complaint that it damaged England’s World Cup bid.

An anonymous complainant criticised the decision to broadcast the programme just three days before Fifa selected the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. England’s bidding team, which had spent £15m on the campaign, was promptly humiliated, winning just two votes from Fifa’s 22-man executive committee.

Three of those were accused by Panorama of taking bribes as part of a wider corruption scandal involving £100m of secret payments, and accused a fourth executive of selling World Cup tickets for personal gain.

Many felt the BBC could have waited until after the bidding process to air the documentary.

But the Trust’s standards committee rejected the complaint, saying “the issues raised by the programme were relevant to the bidding process, showing the manner in which Fifa officials behave… the BBC, as an impartial organisation, did not have a position on England’s bid – either for or against it”.

(Source: Press Gazette)

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