Football Not Coming Home as England World Cup Bid Fails

It’s about 24 hours since we were dumped out of the voting for the 2018 World Cup and although I’ve calmed down a bit, guest blogger Richard Smith has actually managed to turn his disappointment into a coherent post…

Despite the huge influences of future Kings, the Prime Minister, Lords, Ladies, Knights of the Realm and future Knights of the Realm, the England bid to host the 2018 World Cup failed (embarrassingly) in the very first round of FIFA voting.

Instead of England being the name on the winning card, it was Russia, the original favourites and who are now charged with creating 13 new stadia, building efficient logistical links between the hosting Cities and their neighbouring countries, all in the short time span of less than 8 years.

Investigations and inquests are being planned, if not already underway as to why the England bid failed, although it is being widely acknowledged that the England presentation was one of the best submitted, suggesting that the failure was due to more spurious reasons. In some respects it is not altogether fair to call it a failure; after all, the Russian bid was based on an extremely valid argument that they had never had the opportunity to host the event in the past. It would also be the first World Cup ever to be staged in Eastern Europe.

The reason why most football fans will regard it as a failure is because the England bid was knocked out in the first round of voting. This means quite clearly, that the bid was never under real consideration, a seriously humiliating indictment for the bid team and quite a surprise considering the England were favourites to win the bid with the odds as short as 4/6!

 The failure could be for several reasons, two of which might best be answered by the BBC and the Sunday Times. The ‘Beeb’ of course decided in their wisdom via their Panorama programme earlier this week, to make serious corruption allegations against four members of the FIFA Executive and the Sunday Times printed similar allegations, suggesting that up to six members of this same FIFA Committee had asked for cash in exchange for World Cup votes.

Whatever the reasons for the failure, it is clear that both the BBC and the owners of the Sunday Times could have better timed their attacks; in fact in light of the failure tonight would have been the ideal time for the Panorama programme to be shown. Certainly it makes those BBC employees on the bid team, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer look rather foolish in the aftermath of the verdict.

England in fact cannot now host the World Cup until 2030, with Qatar winning the right to host the event in 2022 and South America to host in 2026.

One of the early conclusions being speculated is simply that England is simply disliked by the international football authorities. Their high powered bid team may have been regarded as too top heavy and as such it became intimidating to the FIFA Executive Committee. It would also appear that promises made have been broken, as England felt that they were sure to have received at least three votes in the first round, but in the event they only received two.

As strong as the England bid was, it was well known to FIFA that the bid team were not fully united, particularly those from the Premier League and those from the FA. Lord Triesman, the original leader of the bid team, vacated his chair, in the summer, after making negative comments concerning rival 2018 bids. He was only replaced by a stand in leader, Roger Burden, hardly a household name and not the man that FIFA would necessarily view as a credible bid leader.

Add these underlying problems to the simple fact that England tried too hard to sell the success of the Premier League. This is certainly something that would not go down too well at FIFA, who frown upon those in the sport who spends beyond their budgets and who do not nurture home grown talent. It will also not be lost on FIFA that England failed to qualify by right for Euro 2008 and produced a very poor standard of football in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. These performances would suggest to FIFA that the all is not well in the English game.

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