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Sports Then and Now

What Was FIFA Thinking With World Cup Choices?

Posted on December 03, 2010 by Thomas Rooney

Both the United States and England fell short in bids to host the World Cup.

So there we have it. After 18 months of political lobbying, journalist digging, scandal, corruption and a last minute Royal-infused dash to the line, England’s 2018 World Cup bid ended in dismal failure.

For many people normally following the live match score centre who have seen the bid process develop over the past few weeks the choice of Russia is perhaps no surprise. As pointed out in their bid presentation Eastern Europe has never hosted a World Cup and their country harbours a growing passion and, crucially, the financial support for a football tournament of this magnitude.

As an England fan I can perhaps grudgingly accept that. But I don’t think it is the losing that is the galling thing. It’s the fact we had the best technical and commercial bid yet came last out of all four countries. Then the decision to award Qatar the 2022 WC despite also having the weakest bid says it all – it was seen as ‘high risk’ by the FIFA report! It all leaves a bitter taste in the mouth

It is easy to accuse the English of sour grapes. But to put our failure purely down to perceived ‘arrogance’ and FIFA’s whiter than white vision of spreading the game to new boundaries is naïve.

Yes the English press didn’t help and Sepp Blatter’s alleged reminder to executives to bear recent media coverage in mind before voting, simply gave them ample excuses not to vote for England.

But darker forces are at work here – if they had nothing to hide why get so annoyed with the English press? If the rumours are true all our last minute lobbying and excellent bid presentation was a waste of time – we never had a chance.

England bid chief Andy Anson is right in saying we shouldn’t bother bidding for another tournament until the voting process is reformed. The decision is clearly not based on a country’s ability to host a
successful, safe and profitable World Cup.

We better get used to waiting though as it will take more than one Panorama expose to breach the formidable cash-filled wall FIFA have built around themselves. This weekend, it is back to following the latest football scores in the Premier League to boost our morale.

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