BBC’s Mark Thompson says Panorama FIFA timing was production-driven coincidence

And if you believe that you’ll believe anything.

BBC director general Mark Thompson told Sunday’s Andrew Marr Show that the reason the corporation’s Panorama FIFA programme, which essentially broadcast some warmed-over material about bribery that referred to events at least ten years old, went out three days before the 2018 World Cup bid was decided was that much of the information in it was only discovered ‘a few weeks’ before transmission.’

In which case they should have got their skates on a bit sooner don’t you think?

After all, freelance reporter Andrew Jennings had been working on the programme for years.

This sounds to me like complete cobblers. If the Beeb wants to stick to its guns it should acknowledge that the timing was deliberate. After all everyone knew the programme was slated for November 29 months before.

And programme makers don’t just wander up to schedulers and say, “we’re finished now, put it out on Monday please.”

So, after a full inquest over the weekend, are we any clearer about whether or not the Beeb programme affected the vote which awarded the competition to Russia?

Well we know that FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, who was at one time president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders, an organisation campaigning for ladies to wear stockings rather than tights, warned the delegate voters about the “evils of the British media” just before they did the dirty deed.

Which gave those delegate who had promised the Brits their votes the perfect excuse to change their minds, assuming they needed or wanted one.

C’mon Thommo, ‘old yer ‘and up mate.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.