Lessons of Brit World Cup bid

December 2nd, 2010

Let’s face it, our government shot itself in the foot in this much heralded World Cup bid. They fielded a team which played well with the British media. The newly engaged Prince William, the tele friendly Prime Minister, both briefed by the hero of football past, David Beckham, who long since left these shores to earn a banker’s salary in foreign parts. They sent in the big guns to blast their way to victory.

Losing all sense of proportion.

Football is, after all, just a game. To the rest of the world, the fact that our prime minister fronted the bid, was sure indication that we were trying bully boy tactics. Not content with the fact that our tourist trade is going to benefit from our hosting of the 2o012 Olympics, we were stripped naked and shown to be hustling for World Cup tourist business in 2018.

Worse than that the protagonists tried to get the BBC to halt the broadcast of it’s long investigation into corruption in FIFA, the World Cup governing body. It was tactless, they said. Thank God, ┬áthe BBC did not cave in, risking further disapproval from the Cameron government, which has already slashed its budget.

Last night, a grinning David Beckham assured us on British TV that our bid was going well. In fact, we got two votes in the first round. Which is open to legal challenge if any of the three FIFA members accused, wants to challenge the BBC’s facts.

But, maybe, just maybe, the FIFA decision had nothing at all to do with the BBC.

The winner for 2018, Russia, is one of the great footballing nations of my lifetime. The Moscow Dynamoes enchanted the Wolverhampton football crowds of my youth.

Yet astonishingly, Russia has never been asked to host the World Cup, since it started in 1930. No doubt the reason for that is to do with the fact that the World Cup was run by the west, when the old Soviet Union was the enemy.

So Russia deserves a chance, for its football, not its political structure.

But what is one to make of the 2022 choice Qatar?

That does suggest that FIFA is in need of reform.

Maybe the choice was made because of bribes, because Qatar, is richer, than, say Ireland, which has many more football fans.

Or maybe, it is made to encourage Qatar, and other nations who don’t have football as the national sport, to jump on the football bandwagon.

What rubbish!

Thanks to human inventiveness, it is now possible to play football on plastic turf in the desert. But not very enjoyably. Football keeps you warm in cool climates.

And unlike cricket you can play the rain as well.

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