England bid still feeling Panorama fallout
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.
It also accused another FIFA vice-president Jack Warner of seeking to buy World Cup tickets to pass on to touts - although the programme accepted he did not actually do so.
England had high hopes of winning both men's votes, and the IOC's announcement of their ethics committee's investigation of Hayatou - who is also an IOC member - will not help their chances.
The IOC said in a statement: "The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities. The IOC has a zero tolerance against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC ethics commission."
Warner brushed aside the Panorama programme telling Press Association Sport: "I really have no interest in this matter... now or ever."
Warner's importance to the England bid is such that Prime Minister David Cameron has invited him to lunch before the vote on Thursday.
Apart from African confederation president Hayatou, Panorama also accused his fellow FIFA executive members Brazil's Ricardo Terra Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay of taking bribes.
FIFA insisted the case had already been investigated in Switzerland by a criminal court in Zug.
FIFA said: "The matters concerning the case 'ISL/ISMM' which are referred to date back many years ago and were investigated by the relevant authorities in Switzerland.
"No FIFA officials were accused of any criminal offence in these proceedings. The investigation and the case are definitely closed."
There has been some good news for England's 2018 bid after they came out top of a FIFA study assessing the economic value of a World Cup in all bidding countries.
England's bid scored 100% across the board in five revenue areas: ticketing, TV and media rights, sponsorship, hospitality and merchandise/licensing - better than any of their 2018 rivals, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Holland.
The report by management consultants McKinsey has been sent to all the 22-man FIFA executive committee who will vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts on Thursday.
The McKinsey report, titled FIFA's World Cup Host Candidate Assessment, gave an overall rating to England receive of 100%, Spain 91%, Holland/Belgium 87% and Russia 86%.
Among the 2022 bidders, USA was 100% overall, Japan 73%, South Korea 71%, Qatar 70% and Australia 68%.
All four European bidders scored 100% for TV and media rights, but England really outscored Russia when it came to hospitality - Russia was only rated at 56%.
England was also rated as the highest, jointly with Spain/Portugal, by FIFA's technical evaluation of the bids.
England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson told a news conference yesterday: "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."
Russia's FIFA executive committee member Vitaly Mutko today refused to confirm whether their prime minister Vladimir Putin would come to Zurich ahead of the vote.
Mutko told a news conference: "In terms of his arrival here in FIFA he will speak for himself, most probably tomorrow.
"The most direct support the bid has had is coming from Vladimir Putin - he is involved in our bid on a daily basis, even today this morning we have already discussed issues concerning our bid."