World Cup 2010 - England bid 'harmed' by corruption sting
England's bid to host the 2018 has been "significantly harmed" by the newspaper investigation into corruption within the bidding process, according to a report quoting a "senior" source.
FIFA had previously claimed that the investigation - which accused two members of the governing body's executive committee of trying to sell their votes - would not adversely affect England's bid to host the finals for a second time.
However, the BBC quotes a "senior member" of the committee as saying: "It has significantly harmed England's bid."
Two members of FIFA's executive committee - Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii - were accused last month of demanding money in exchange for supporting the USA bid to host the tournament by a Sunday Times undercover sting.
FIFA's ethics committee is due to meet later this month to decide if any further action should be taken against the pair, who asked journalists posing as American lobbyists for money to build football facilities in their home countries ahead of the vote to select the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 finals on December 2.
Adamu and Temarii are currently suspended pending the ethics committee's decision. If their suspension is upheld, they will not be replaced in time for the vote, meaning just 22 members will take part in the secret ballot next month.
A member of the England bid, which is considering asking all British national newspapers and broadcasters to write to FIFA declaring their support for the bid, expressed fears that the expose has fatally harmed the bid.
They told the BBC: "The question is: can we recover from this? FIFA members feel they are being persecuted by the British media.
"It isn't dead and the next two or three weeks will be delicate but England's bid has been damaged and it's going to take a lot of hard work to repair that damage."
Earlier this week, Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam slammed the investigation.
He wrote on his personal website: "Forging identity, fabricating evidence and setting traps are unethical behaviours in my point of view. One thing about Middle East media, these are rare happenings there.
"Is it ethical to use unethical measures to protect the ethic? How can we serve justice and look for fairness by not acting justly and fairly? How will we clean dirty laundry by using dirty water?"
FIFA president Sepp Blatter reflected recently that the decision to hold the two bidding processes simultaneously was not a wise move.
He said: "We have asked ourselves whether it has been wise to have a double bid for the two World Cups.
"I have expressed my concern that the decision to put the World Cups together was a good decision. I take responsibility for that and it was not the right thing to do. We are in a situation now where we have to go on."