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Revenge of ExCo.

December 4th, 2010 by · 1 Comment · Features, Football

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Amid all the fall-out from the World Cup bidding process it has become increasingly clear that the England bid team were promised support that didn’t materalise. The growing optimism of the days leading up to the decision was clearly based on formal support by Concacaf President Jack Warner. The three votes that Jack brings would have seen England through to the second round of voting and a potential head to head with Russia.

So why bother to mislead the England bid team? The only plausible answer is revenge. If you think that a FIFA executive would be above such behaviour then you don’t know Jack Warner. See him in action here, here and here.

The clips show that Jack Warner is an unpleasant bully but, as importantly, they also show journalist Andrew Jackson as an obsessive bore. Pestering anyone in public by asking them the same fatuous question again and again is no substitute for quality investigative journalism. Jack Warner may be corrupt, he may not, but the constant harassment by Jackson, supported by the BBC, looks increasingly like a personal obsession.

No one in their right mind, especially the bid team, should have believed for a second that when Warner had a chance to fuck the FA, and English football in general, he would not just take it but would relish it. If that meant misleading the bid team, the PM and the future king then the sweeter the cold taste.

If they were surprised by that behaviour they really should have read the signals from the FIFA president. For the last two years Sepp Blatter has made it clear that he personally backed Russia [2018] and Qatar [2022]. His vision is to take the tournament to the parts of the world that don’t have the mature infrastructure that you see in England. That’s exactly why the tournament has been awarded to South Africa [2010], Brazil [2014], Russia and Qatar. Sepp always gets what he wants.

I’ve heard some pundits taking about the centenary [2030] of the World Cup being the best opportunity for football to ‘come home’.  You only had to listen to Blatter announcing Russian success to understand that he regards China as the place where ‘football was born’. That’s a pretty big, underdeveloped, market.

England had no chance of being awarded this tournament and FIFA almost went out of their way to tell them so. The fact that the team badly misread the personalities involved is probably the most glaring sign of why they had no chance. They don’t play the FIFA game, they don’t shake the right hands and line the right pockets. Looking at Putin’s extraordinary performance and Abramovic smiling in the shadows it’s not hard to imagine what it takes to win this stuff.

If I was part of the FA I wouldn’t even consider bidding again and instead spend the millions involved in developing grass-roots football.

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