'Panorama' probe clouds 2018 bid

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The Independent Football

England's mooted bid for the 2018 World Cup faces problems with the BBC planning to broadcast a programme investigating senior Fifa figures. Panorama has sent letters to the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, general secretary, Jerome Valcke, and executive committee members, Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer, asking them to answer a number of claims.

Panorama says it is examining whether England can expect "fair play" from Fifa in the bidding for the 2018 finals. The programme is due to be screened on 29 October, in the middle of the Fifa executive committee meeting in Zurich that is expected to agree to end the rotation of World Cups between continents.

The Wales defender Danny Gabbidon has defended himself against accusations that he does not care about playing for his country in the wake of Saturday's defeat in Cyprus. The West Ham player has taken much of the flak, but manager John Toshack has met the player to tell him he is crucial to his plans.

"Nobody can say I don't care," Gabbidon said. "Obviously I was disappointed with the game and my performance. But we have to dig ourselves out of this hole. There were problems in the second half and we conceded bad goals. We must accept that we have to do better. But for people to say that I don't care is nonsense. I have shown every time that I try to give 100 per cent."

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