Are the BBC and Andrew Jennings Going to Kill England 2018?

After the FIFA Voting for Dollars sting became public, there was a lot of speculation about whether the fact that a British newspaper had orchestrated it would damage Englands' bid for the 2018 World Cup.

When asked about it, Blatter, Warner and others all made cooing noises about how it "shouldn't" or it "probably will have little effect" and similar comments seemingly designed to let England know that they were OK for the moment but on thin ice.

Now, however, the other shoe is about to drop, and it appears that nobody in the FIFA hierarchy is prepared to let Old Blighty off the hook.

For those of you who came in late, a quick refresher video: the kindly old white haired gent seen ...um..."interacting" with Warner in this (possibly NSFW) video is British investigative reporter Andrew Jennings; (this is just great)

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5TY2matx8A"]YouTube - Jack Warner (Prime Minister of T&T) CORRUPTION parody[/ame]

As I mentioned a few days ago, it's long been known that Jennings has been working on a BBC Panorama program which will cover the bribery sting as well as a bunch of the other FIFA slime and sludge which he has been reporting on over the last few years.

The Beeb has just announced that the program will air next Monday - three days before the Executive Committee cats their votes in Zurich.

In an apparent effort to be totally fair, the producers have sent both Blatter and Warner a list of questions. Presumably they're pretty much the same questions that Jennings has been trying to ask them - and they've been ignoring (or at least Blatter was before he had Jennings banned from FIFA press events) for quite some time.

Warner and Blatter have, of course, refused to respond; Warner didn't even bother to tell them to "Go and ask your Mother" or discuss not dignifying his spit.

What they have been saying, or at least strongly implying, is that if this broadcast airs England 2018 is toast.

Since Warner holds the crucial three votes that will make or break Englands' bid in his vest pocket, the Brits have made groveling before his throne a regular ritual. The FA ordered the England team to fly to T&T for a friendly which, just as a side note, constituted a much clearer cut case of "bribery" than anything the Nigerian tried to pull with those reporters, but he's Jack Warner and he pocketed all the money and no one has or will mention it.

(Neither will anyone suggest that the newly established David Beckham Soccer Academy in Port-of-Spain is a blatant payoff for Warners' vote. It's just there for the children, doncha know.)

In a bit of campy theater that even I would be too ashamed to make up, British Prime Minister David Cameron called Warner in T&T last week and invited him to stop by London to have lunch with him just before he flies to Zurich.

When Warner took the call he was in the middle of touring - I swear to God I am not making this up - a "non-functioning sewage plant".

Suddenly, with the impending broadcast, Smilin' Jack isn't smiling any more. He apparently intends to hold England responsible, as per this response to a question regarding the Jennings program:

‘I am sure it’s a personal vendetta. But it is sooooooooooo stupid... for it can have no effect on me personally or anyone else in Fifa for that matter. In my personal opinion it is deliberately designed to negatively impact (Englands' bid). It is just a rehash of the same old b******* so I continue to sleep very soundly at nights.’

He's joined by the suddenly crapping-his-pants Andy Anson, England 2018 Chief Executive:

‘I’m incredibly disappointed with the timing. If they truly believe there’s a journalistic reason for this, they could have done it any time in the last two years.

‘To do it like this is sensationalism. It’s not very patriotic of the BBC.’

There's now speculation that England, in a frantic move that smacks of desperation, is trying to arrange for Prince William and his suddenly famous fiance Kate Middleton to make a personal, closed door appeal to Warner when he's in London.

How much do you think that vile old racist pirate will love that one?

For their part, the BBC issued a reply stating simply that:

"Panorama has a reputation for strong, independent and probing investigative journalism.

"The findings of the Panorama investigation into FIFA will be in the public interest."

The public interest, maybe. The interests of getting the 2018 World Cup, maybe not so much.