England 2018 have have criticised a BBC Panorama programme that accused three FIFA executive committee members of corruption.
The documentary, broadcast on Monday evening, alleged that Issa Hayatou, Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz had previously taken bribes.
African confederation president Hayatou, Brazil’s Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay are all part of the 22-man committee which will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts on Thursday.
But the programme has been criticised as the allegations have nothing to do with World Cup votes and all relate to payments made between up to 21 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, making such payments were 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’.
England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson reiterated his displeasure at the decision to proceed with the programme, describing the BBC as an ’embarrassment’.
“We stand by our previous position that the BBC’s Panorama did nothing more than rake over a series of historical allegations none of which are relevant to the current bidding process,” said the statement.
“It should be seen as an embarrassment to the BBC.
“The 2018 team are entirely focused on winning the bid for England.”
England are up against Russia, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium for 2018, with Australia, Japan, USA, South Korea and Qatar bidding for 2022.
FIFA is 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 a Sunday Times investigation, but both have announced their intention to appeal.