Moans about 2018 bid must be ignored

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SOME wonderful matches at Wimbledon.

Rory McIlroy’s carve-up of Congressional.

The forthcoming contest between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye.

There is plenty of topics for Talking Sport to get its teeth into right now.

But, hopefully, readers of this column will allow me 370 or so words of indulgence.

While the world gorges itself on a feast of athletic drama, news that FIFA’s ethics committee, (if, indeed, it is possible for such a thing to exist), suspects Mohamed bin Hammam of offering bribes and Jack Warner of possibly facilitating corruption has slipped under the radar somewhat.

But when the dust has settled on SW19 and the last punch is thrown inside Hamburg’s Imtech Arena, football’s governing body will doubtless once again find itself in the full glare of the spotlight.

The self-righteous pontificating of the English FA and, it must be said, many supporters, about the fact that its overlords in Zurich are not fit for purpose does not sit comfortably though when compared with the outcry which greeted the Sunday Times’ expose of goings on before our ill-fated bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

Or the howls of patriotic protests accusing BBC Panorama investigators of scuppering the process less than 24 hours before the first vote was cast.

Both from officialdom and members of the public.

“It would be correct to assume that the article has caused some significant damage to us,” one member of England’s campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters at the time. “It would be...better for us not have any issues with our own media.”

“The one thing I was unsettled by was the timing of...Panorama...coming just a few days before the decision is made,” Gary Lineker said.

Andy Anson, leader of England’s 2018 bid, agreed.

“The issues seems to be things dealt with by the Swiss courts and things in the past,” he said before broadcast.

“If they truly believe there’s a journalistic reason for this they could have done it at any time in the last two years.”

Events since the Baur au Lac hotel hosted this monumental stitch-up only serve to make such complaints seem even more pathetic than they sounded at the time.

They also serve to remind all of the above, their colleagues and fans who jumped on the bandwagon, that bedroom bloggers and celebrities masquerading as reporters are no substitute for serious and professional journalists.