PM Slams BBC Panorama Documentary ahead of World Cup Vote

Paul ReeceContributor IINovember 26, 2010

FIFA president Sepp Blatter with David Cameron
FIFA president Sepp Blatter with David CameronPool/Getty Images

British PM David Cameron has admitted his frustration at the BBC's (British Broadcasting Corporation) decision to broadcast a controversial Panorama episode before the World Cup vote.

England's hope of hosting the 2018 World Cup is disappearing fast following a number of press stories surrounding the vote.

And with major nations in South America and Asia now voicing support for the Spain/Portugal joint bid, England have dropped from favorites to outsiders.

And the PM has now criticised the decision to broadcast the episode, which investigates FIFA, so close to the crucial vote.

Cameron told BBC's Football Focus, which will air tomorrow: "Is it frustrating that Panorama's doing this programme a few days before? Of course it is.

"But it's a free country and you have to roll with that. I think FIFA will understand that and I think we also have to try and convince them that, yes we've got a robust and independent media, but our media love football and when it comes to the World Cup in terms of audience, in terms of the press coverage around the world, actually the media will give it a fantastic boost here in this country."

The BBC have said the programme is in the public's interest but it has attracted controversy for being so close to the vote.

FIFA vice president Jack Warner has already suggested the programme will harm England's bid.

Speaking earlier this week he told Trinidad paper Newsday: "I think they [Panorama] have a death-wish for the English FA and I hope they fail because it isn't too correct what they're trying to do.

"We have not decided how we're voting in the CONCACAF. I know that, in some ways, our votes are key to what's happening.

"On Monday, I'll meet my team and then we shall decide."

The draw next Tuesday will decide England's fate, with the 1966 winners competing with joint bids from Spain/Portugal, Belgium/Holland and Russia.