Was it the Beeb wot lost it?
So, Sepp Blatter and his cronies at Fifa punted for the World Cup circus to go to Russia in 2018 and not a single jot could the schmoozing “Three Lions” do about it.
By the time the respective delegates spilled into the arena at Fifa headquarters in Zurich, the fate of England’s doomed bid already looked well and truly marked.
The glum faces of Prince William and his other two lions, British prime minister David Cameron and golden balls Beckham, were clear indicators in themselves. But even before Blatter magically revealed the contents of his envelope – Paul Daniels style – there were whisperings across the airwaves that England’s bid had already crashed and burned.
Those close to the England bid, such as Gary Lineker, were quoted as saying the bid didn’t even make it into the final round of voting. It later emerged England only received two of the 22 votes from the executive committee despite having the “best technical bid”.
Of course, all the blame can now be laid squarely on the doors of the BBC for their “untimely” airing of the investigative Panorama programme, alleging much corruption within Fifa ranks, just as the Sunday Times also alluded to.
Whatever the case, Fifa operates under its own rules, always has done and always will do, and there’s not a single thing Blighty, or the other hopefuls could do about it. It didn’t matter how many so-called heavyweights England wheeled out for the final shove ahead of today’s voting.
It’s funny how those close to the bid were magnanimous in defeat but you sensed they still felt like throwing the toys out of the pram when people like Cameron and Alan Shearer said how disappointing it is they haven’t witnessed a World Cup on home soil in their life time. Ah diddums. Sure you can still keep harping back to 1966, god knows it’s a well-versed line at this stage.
Instead the great money-spinning showpiece of world soccer is off to Russia before moving on to the somewhat bizarrely chosen Qatar in 2022. Wouldn’t like to be packing the suitcase for those two trips in one go, just thinking of the excess baggage charge is enough of a put off, not to mention travel distances.
For now though, the exemplary brown-nosing (we make no mention of brown envelopes) of the Russians was far superior to the other three bids, so much so, Master Putin didn’t even need to be there. Instead, an oligarch or two and a Chelsea owner was quite sufficient to get the job done.
World Cup 2018 Voting breakdown
First round votes: England (2), Holland/Belgium (4), Spain/Portugal (7), Russia (9)
Second round: Holland/Belgium (2), Spain/Portugal (7), Russia (13)