Panorama to investigate Fifa conduct

The BBC is planning to broadcast a Panorama programme investigating senior Fifa figures, in the run-up to England’s proposed bid for the 2018 World Cup.

Panorama has sent letters to Fifa president Sepp Blatter, general secretary Jerome Valcke and executive committee members Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer asking them to respond to a number of claims.

The letters say Panorama is “examining whether England can expect ‘fair play’ from Fifa” in bidding for the 2018 finals.

Panorama also says it will be investigating the conduct of Fifa officials following the US court case between Fifa and MasterCard that ended with football’s world governing body agreeing a £45m settlement with the credit card giant.

The programme is due to be screened on 29 October, which coincides with the Fifa executive committee meeting in Zurich that is expected to agree to the end of rotation of the World Cup between continents.

Panorama also carried out an investigation into the International Olympic Committee while London was bidding for the 2012 Games.

The then British Olympic Association chairman Craig Reedie accused the BBC of undermining London’s bid by causing “irritation” at the IOC.

However, in this latest case, it is understood that Blatter has already made it clear that he will not hold an England bid in any way responsible for the programme.

A senior Fifa source said: “Fifa will not hold this against an England bid for the World Cup. We are aware enough to realise that Panorama have nothing to do with an England bid.”

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