Panorama point the finger at three FIFA members
Published 20:14 29/11/10 By MirrorFootball
BBC Panorama have accused three FIFA executive committee members of taking bribes in a programme which England's 2018 World Cup bid leaders fear could further harm their chances of winning the tournament later this week.
The three men are all part of the 22-man committee which will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts on Thursday.
African confederation president Issa Hayatou, whose vote England 2018 had high hopes of capturing, Brazil's Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay have all been named by Panorama.
The programme is likely to be criticised over the timing of the screening as the allegations have nothing to do with World Cup votes and all relate to payments made between 21 and 11 years ago by the collapsed company ISL, which had been awarded the marketing rights to successive World Cups by FIFA.
Under Swiss law at the time, the payment of such sweeteners was not illegal.
FIFA vice-president Jack Warner is also subject of accusations that he "ordered [2010 World Cup] tickets costing 84,240 US dollars from the FIFA ticket office but the deal subsequently fell through".
Warner last week said that Panorama were deliberately undermining England's bid.
He told Press Association Sport then: "In my personal opinion, it is deliberately designed to negatively impact on England's chances.
"It is just a rehash of the same old b******* so I continue to sleep very soundly at nights."
England 2018 already feared the Sunday Times undercover investigation into World Cup votes, which saw six FIFA officials banned by the body's ethics committee earlier this month, had significantly damaged the bid.
The fact that the programme does not cover World Cup bidding at all is likely to lead to an outcry over the timing of the screening in the week of the FIFA vote.
BBC Panorama said in a press release: "Panorama has obtained a confidential document from inside ISL that lists 175 secret payments made between 1989 and 1999.
"The payments total about 100million US dollars (£64million) and Panorama understands that most were bribes paid to a handful of senior FIFA officials.
"Many of the recipients of the bribes cannot be traced because the cash was paid through a series of front companies in Liechtenstein."
Panorama said one Liechtenstein company, Sanud, received 21 payments totalling 9.5million US dollars (£6.1million) and there was "compelling evidence" the money went to Teixeira.
The name of Hayatou, from Cameroon, appears next to a cash payment of 100,000 French Francs (£10,000) in 1995, says the programme.
Leoz has already been named by a Swiss court as receiving two ISL payments totalling 130,000 US dollars (£83,000) and Panorama say the list shows he received three further payments of 200,000 US dollars (£128,000) each.
Earlier today, England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson reiterated his displeasure at the BBC's decision to proceed with the Panorama programme.
Anson said: "Of course I'm disappointed with the timing. It's a small group of 22 people.
"If you hurt one of them of course it has an impact on others, that's just inevitable. It won't win us any votes.
"But FIFA gave us a very strong evaluation and have just published an economic study which puts England way ahead of its competitors. If you combine the two, we clearly have the strongest bid. It's the perfect foundation."
England are up against Russia, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium for 2018, with Australia, Japan, USA, South Korea and Qatar bidding for 2022.
FIFA are currently attempting to determine if the Oceania Federation can replace their suspended president Reynald Temarii on the executive committee, which would make it 23 voting members.
Temarii, from Tahiti, and Nigeria's Amos Adamu were both suspended following the Sunday Times investigation, but both have announced their intention to appeal.