England’s lost World Cup bid is our gain

In November this humble blog commented about how David Cameron was to launch a last-ditch personal attempt to breathe fresh life into England’s faltering bid to host the 2018 World Cup, saying:

Oh well, that just about kills off the England bid.

This afternoon, despite Cameron’s shuttle trips between London and Zurich and the intense lobbying of the English bid team including Prince William, David Beckham and Lord Coe, that prediction became reality and FIFA rejected the England bid. Embarrassingly the bid was eliminated in the first round of voting by FIFA’s Executive Committee, placing England’s technically superior offering behind both the Netherlands-Belgium and Spain-Portugal bids.  In the end FIFA awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia.

Despite Cameron rubbing shoulders with Goldenballs Beckham, he clearly lacks the golden touch when it comes to assignments in continental Europe. Each time he goes there he returns with either a) nothing, or b) a demand for huge sums of our money. But in fairness responsibility for this failure – if you think of it as one – rests somewhere other than Cameron’s door.

There were some powerful agendas at play in Zurich. FIFA’s quasi-monarchial President, Sepp Blatter, had made clear he preferred Russia as the venue because it would bring football’s money generating machine to a new untapped market and supposedly reach a new audience.

When Blatter wants something it generally results in a number of Exec Committee members voting to give it to him. This was probably the major factor in the voting outcome. But a contributing factor without any doubt was the BBC’s decision to screen their ‘investigation’ into corruption at the top levels of FIFA just days before the vote. Reports suggests Blatter reminded the committee of the negative BBC coverage and also that press clippings of other media criticisms and accusations concerning FIFA were helpfully circulated around the delegates earlier today.

It has been hilarious and cringeworthy in equal measure listening to the BBC media pack squirming over the last 48 hours as they tried to convince TV and radio audiences that despite the Panorama special, England’s bid had suddenly developed momentum.  The BBC narrative switched to self preservation mode, saying the bid was in the ascendency and that it was the only show in town with the Royal, the politician and the superstar pressing the flesh and winning the necessary support. But only the most deluded moron could believe that the intentionally provocative insult hurled at FIFA by the arrogant BBC (no matter how accurate the Panorama investigation might have been) would be glossed over by some of the most egotistical and allegedly corrupt delegates on the face of the planet.

The BBC has shown itself time and again to be contemptuous of its home country. It never passes up an opportunity to denigrate England, Britain or the UK as per the default position of such illiberal self loathing personae. In doing so again this week the BBC has scored a spectacular own goal. Millions of football fans who wanted the tournament hosted here will now link the Panorama programme with the failure of the bid, and the BBC will attract the deserved contempt of those people it has long sneered at. This outcome can only be benefical because more people will come to see the BBC for the insipid entity it is.

Another benefit for England is the removal of financial commitments that come with hosting the World Cup. The bid would have wasted money developing Home Park in Plymouth to seat over 40,000 people when the average attendance of Argyle’s games there is little over 5,000. Milton Keynes would also have had to be further developed to produce facilities that far exceed what the city’s team will ever need.  So although we have lost the bid, in the long run we will be better off, saving a significant amount of taxpayers’ money – and having the BBC show itself up as a spiteful corporation to people who normally wouldn’t realise or be interested in knowing. Eyes will have been opened tonight.

Amusingly the kneejerking has already begun, with Labour demanding an inquiry into the bid failure, and BBC journalists such as Peter Allen on Five Live suggesting the Russians might have engineered a stitch up before the vote and knew they had the outcome in the bag, which was why Vladimir Putin had stayed away.

As for FIFA’s choice, good luck to Russia’s World Cup organisers. They will need it. With the extent of corruption, terrorism and organised crime in that country they will have their work cut out delivering this tournament safely, making money and attracting overseas visitors to the games. It seems Russia and FIFA deserve each other and fate has finally united them.

7 Responses to “England’s lost World Cup bid is our gain”


  1. 1 MrT 02/12/2010 at 6:54 pm

    Excellent – yet another gain is not having to put up with an invasion of (foreign) oiks…it’s bad enough having to endure the rantings and ragings of our own home-grown, foul-mouthed rabble as it is…

  2. 2 AJC 02/12/2010 at 7:22 pm

    The BBC with a little help from Lord Triesman!

  3. 3 PK 03/12/2010 at 7:18 am

    Has anyone ever seen anything more unedifying than (Ras)Putin’s promise to attend Zurich to personally thank FIFA for allowing him to spend billions of his peoples sorely needed money host a football tournament.

    I think I preferred the Russians when they had a bit of pride.

  4. 4 right_writes 03/12/2010 at 7:58 am

    If only Cameron had been around when the 2012 Olympic bid was up for grabs.

  5. 5 Richard T 03/12/2010 at 9:01 am

    Sorry so the BBC and the Sunday Times should duck out on exposing one of the more corrupt self perpetuating camarillas? I don’t think so.

  6. 6 Autonomous Mind 03/12/2010 at 9:46 am

    Not at all Richard. Exposure of corruption is essential. However this story was in the bag some time ago, so the issue centres on why the decision was taken to broadcast the programme just a matter of hours before the vote. Why not do it sooner, or leave it until after the bid?

    What we need to remember is that England’s bid team have spent over £15m producing their bid and a number of high profile people have taken time out from the jobs they should have been doing to support the bid. It was a complete waste of time and money and whether or not you wanted the World Cup to come here, the BBC’s actions were a clear factor in undermining the bid.

  7. 7 Jekyll Island 03/12/2010 at 6:04 pm

    Was anybody really naive enough to think that we would win fairly? FIFA is a deeply corrupt organisation and both Spain & Russia are countries with a rich tradition of bribery. We didn’t stand a chance against competition like that. Personally I would have loved for us to host the competition but as it is, the Russian WC could well be one of the worst attended of all time.

    Worst attended until 2022, when it’s hosted in Qatar. The decision to award the tournament to Qatar is one those ‘taking the piss’ moments. A number of bidding countries (particularly Australia and USA) had extremely strong bids but they chose to go to a small patch of desert with few inhabitants and little football interest. It reminds me of an episode of The Mrs Merton Show when she interviewed Debbie McGee and asked ‘What attracted you to millionaire Paul Daniels?’


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