In praise of Panorama

I’ve long had problems with the BBC’s popular investigative documentary series Panorama. The approach taken by the programme has a tabloid feel to it, with only 30 minutes per episode there is little depth to the presentation, and, worst of all, every episode is introduced by a muppet named Jeremy Vine.

Minor quibbles aside, Panorama is a very good thing, and its investigation of corruption at the heart of the international football community is a case in point. What irritates me more than an apparently corrupt football governing body FIFA awarding the 2018 World Cup to a country under the control of a allegedly quasi-mafia state is the hue and cry from the British establishment and football-following public to the broadcasting of Andrew Jennings‘ documentary in the lead-up to the FIFA executive vote on the hosting of the 2018 event.

So keen were the Brits to host the World Cup, that the rottenness of FIFA was brushed aside, and journalists who exposed the bribery scandal denounced as unpatriotic. This immediately follows the recent Wikileaks revelation that an intellectually-challenged British business ambassador and minor royal was reported by an American diplomat to have in an expletive-laden rant lambasted journalists who exposed corrupt dealings between British Aerospace and Saudi Arabia. For the mass media and general public to ridicule a gormless prince while excoriating an experienced journalist with working class roots and football in his blood is the height of hypocrisy. But then class-based cant is second nature to the English.

Espen Sandli, Torgeir Krokfjord and Andrew Jennings deserve our thanks for their exposé of high-level corruption in the once beautiful game.