''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 8 No 7

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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TIME TO TAKE OFF THE FALSE HALOPanorama investigative journalist Jennings

There's a big debate raging within and without the media world in England, the wider United Kingdom and indeed the entire sporting fraternity/sorority over the BBC's decision to broadcast last evening a Panorama programme alleging corruption not only within FIFA the world governing body, but quite some international sporting organisations. Some against the BBC decision, in an apparent face-saving move insist that such exposures are right and is of public interest, but object to the timing because England bid officials should now be in Zurich, Switzerland to lobby for and plead for England to host the world's greatest football festival in 2018. It is worth noting too that the BBC has on one of its news sites the benefits to be derived should England become successful.

Many football fans across the country will be keeping everything crossed on Thursday when Fifa decides who will host the 2018 World Cup. England is competing against three other bids - from Russia, Spain and Portugal, and the Netherlands and Belgium.CAF President Hayatou
A delegation which includes Prince William, in his role as president of the Football Association, Prime Minister David Cameron and David Beckham - possibly England's most famous footballer of all time - is travelling to Switzerland to persuade Fifa voters to bring the tournament to English soil.
It is estimated the event will boost the UK economy by £3bn, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said. "Winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup would be a fantastic opportunity for the country," said Hugh Robertson, Minister for Sport and the Olympics.
"We would put on a fantastic festival of football with supporters from all competing countries welcomed with open arms."

Be that as it may, should this be an excuse for the BBC to hold on and wait until after the hearing on Thursday of this week? We say no, no and no...even more so when there's the possibility that England, like the other competitors for the 2018 bid could lose out. And then what happens...what will media watchers say? The UK Daily Mail added its voice to the critics with this headline - Backlash against the BBC as it screens Panorama 'bribes' probe just three days ahead of crucial England 2018 World Cup vote.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that as UK Prime Minister David Cameron heads for Zurich as part of the England bid team, his main duty and that of the rest of the team would be "to limit damage to England's bid following the BBC Panorama programme."

But the present head of European Football Michel Platini does not think the Panorama expose would harm the England bid.

He said: "I don't think this (programme) will have an effect, no - but I think what may affect the decision is the atmosphere going back a long time and what people have been writing about Fifa in the British press for many years."

The three accused by Panorama of taking bribes were African confederation president Issa Hayatou, whose vote England 2018 had high hopes of capturing, Brazil's Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay.

The fallout from the BBC Panorama programme continued to cause fears for England's 2018 World Cup bid after the International Olympic Committee today announced they would investigate allegations against FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou. The programme, branded "an embarrassment" by England 2018 bid leaders, accused Hayatou of receiving a £10,000 bribe from now-defunct marketing company ISL in 1995.

Andrew Jennings, the Panorama journalist who investigated for the programme appears to have some more revelations as he indicated in a message to the Sierra Herald and points to a website dedicated to his work in uncovering corruption in sport and asks in one article if FIFA is a kind of organised crime family, a mafia that knows how to protect its kind under all circumstances as long as its operatives do not lose face or job.

In what could well be another attempt at diverting the heat from the core leaders accused, the International Olympics Committee, the IOC has announced that it would be investigating CAF President (For Life?) Hayatou over claims made in the programme.

The BBC for its part has defended the broadcast of the programme with Executive Editor Clive Edwards quoted as stating -The accused

The BBC stood by its decision to air the allegations ahead of Thursday's vote in Zurich.

Clive Edwards told Radio 4's Today programme that Panorama had received a list showing the alleged payment of bribes in October, and had spent the intervening time checking the claims and putting them to those named. Mr Edwards added Panorama presented its evidence to Fifa on 10 November.

"Some people have said that it would have been better to do it after the vote but it is surely nonsense to suggest that you know a process could be flawed and you don't say anything until after it has happened," Mr Edwards said. "I am not prepared to sit on information we have. I believe that it is in everyone's interest that there should be a fair process and that corruption should be exposed."

Meanwhile the bets from the shops here put Russia as the favourite but recent press reports that Prime Minister Putin would not be present in Zurich to put his country's bid personally could spell good news for England.

Are the Russians so sure of their bid that they do not think the Putin presence is needed or are they secretly backing the England bid?

All will be revealed on Thursday December 2, 2010.

PS - Kindly ask yourselves and do try to find answers to -

Why do CAF and FIFA officials stay so long in office?

And even as you consider the Hayatous and Blatter's of sport, kindly take a searching look at the Sierra Leone Olympic Committee and ask why some names are always there.

Remember the late Tommy Hope of the Guma Valley Water Company? He headed Sierra Leone's Olympic Committee for quite a while.



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