The Sunday Times’ investigation into corruption at FIFA will damage England 2018’s bid, according to three-quarters of the 3,000 respondents to PRWeek/One Poll’s latest survey.
The research found that 38 per cent of people said the story published on 17 October, which claimed two FIFA officials offered to sell their votes ahead of December’s decision on the host country of the 2018 World Cup, would damage the bid. A further 38 per cent of people expected FIFA to deny that the story will affect the bid, when really it will.
Only 22 per cent believe that England will still win the 2018 World Cup bid, with 44 per cent saying England would lose and 34 per cent saying they did not know.
But 69 per cent of respondents said The Sunday Times was right to publish the story because it exposed wrongdoing. Only 11 per cent said it should not have published because the risk of harming the bid was too high.
And 48 per cent of people believed that concern over the British media’s negative reports about FIFA was just a way to make the media scapegoats should England lose the bid.
When choosing a host country, 27 per cent of respondents believed safety was the most important factor, with 20 per cent citing the availability of suitable venues and 17 per cent choosing the impact the tournament would have on local people.
Nearly half of respondents said the allegations were very damaging to FIFA, and a further 48 per cent said they were quite damaging. Just four per cent believed they did not damage FIFA’s reputation.
Survey of 3,000 members of the public conducted by global research agency OnePoll
How I see it
Head of sport, Braben
It is interesting that while 76 per cent of those surveyed believe The Sunday Times investigation will impact the England 2018 bid, almost 70 per cent still believe it was right to expose alleged wrongdoing among FIFA officials, even if it means losing the bid. In view of this and the fact that 96 per cent of respondents believe the allegations have damaged FIFA’s reputation, it is clear this is a serious issue for FIFA to overcome.
We have seen time and time again just how integral media can be to the success of sporting bids. But equally, it is encouraging to see such public support for legitimate investigative journalism. You could argue the investigations should help underline the UK’s commitment to delivering a global sporting event in a fair, professional and competent fashion. It would be an interesting twist if the UK media could now be encouraged to co-ordinate an Olympics-style united front and jointly call for football to come home.