The fight to host the 2018 World Cup has descended into a war of words between Russia and England. Russia's opening snipe at the high crime level in London were reported to FIFA and their rivals responded by describing the conduct of England as "absolutely primitive".
There are other candidates hoping to host the tournament, with joint bids lodged from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium, but it is the Anglo-Russian spat that dominates the headlines, but that is not necessarily a good thing.
The increased media coverage comes off the back of claims of corruption and vote-rigging at FIFA by the UK press that has left world football's governing body in an uncomfortable position. And writing in The Guardian, Owen Gibson wonders if Britain's media might just lose the 2018 World Cup bid for England.
"The British media is not guaranteed a warm welcome in Zurich this week. In the wake of newspaper revelations about the World Cup bidding process, and paranoia about an ongoing BBC Panorama investigation which has been contacting Fifa executive committee members with difficult questions, the atmosphere is jittery.
Journalists entering the Baur au Lac hotel, the hub for the increasingly frenetic lobbying and networking that will characterise the final weeks of the campaign, attract the odd suspicious glance from some of the Fifa executive committee members huddled in corners. Bid executives are increasingly paranoid, even when speaking off the record.
The revelations in the Sunday Times concerning the two Fifa executive committee members, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, who are now provisionally suspended along with four other Fifa officials, have revived familiar questions about the impact of the British media on England's chances.
Other bidders have seized a line of argument that they believe may weaken England. Russia's bid has made continued references to its belief that the British media has focused on the negative aspects of its bid. That also fed into the attempt yesterday by Vyacheslav Koloskov, not a formal member of the Russian bid team but a key figure in lobbying on its behalf and well known to many senior Fifa figures, to escalate the row by saying "their journalists are provoking members of the committee".
Senior sources close to the England 2018 bid are confident the gravity of the Sunday Times allegations have outweighed any sense that it will reawaken the nervousness that many executive committee members and Fifa officials feel about the prospect of eight years of intense scrutiny in the run up to an English World Cup. They believe that the negative impact on rival bids will outweigh any downside but others are convinced it will not play well for England."