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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 2, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    Was it the Beeb wot lost it?

    Paul Gallagher

    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.

    Writing on the Wall? England's 'Three Lions' - A glum looking David Beckham, Prince William and British prime minister David Cameron at the World Cup 2018 announcement in Zurich

    Writing on the Wall? England's 'Three Lions' - A glum looking David Beckham, Prince William and British prime minister David Cameron at the World Cup 2018 announcement in Zurich

    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)

    Winner: Russia

    • de profundis says:

      Sick as a parrot John.. know wha’ I mean…We was robbed…We invented the bleedin’ game… we are the footballing master race…bleedin’ Valdimir bleedin’ Putin…bleedin’ Qatar are you havin’ a barf…?
      Larf…? I almost bleedin’ died….! Thankyou Thankyou Thankyou God…!

    • de profundis says:

      Don’t mean to gloat…well actually I do…but of the 2 votes they received 1 was from England!

    • Rob Oyle says:

      The reasons why England lost out will probably never be known for sure, from reading commentaries the point made by Russia that Western Europe lead Eastern Europe 10-0 in previously held tournaments struck a chord… for Irish fans, should be qualify for either tournament, the vast transport distances between venues (2018) and oppressive heat (2022, never mind regimes in both cases) certainly isn’t ideal.

    • de profundis says:

      ‘Futbol ne vozvraschchayut sya domor’*…Vladimir Putin… runs around room with futbol shirt over his head….
      *Football’s not coming home’…in case you hadn’t guessed…! Ypa! Cyrillic for Cheers!

    • robespierre says:

      The powers of negotiation of both Russia and Qatar is remarkable.

      I wonder what possible extra persuasive aspects two oil rich states could possibly have brought to winning this instrument so beloved of strong autocratic states.

      It must have been their love of the game. They just must love it more than the english.

    • de profundis says:

      @ 6 Surely you’re not suggesting sentiment should take precedence over market forces….?

    • Paul Gallagher says:

      Cheers for the comments folks.
      Sure enough, the England debrief has already started as they attempt to find out where it all went wrong. No doubt about it, a paltry two votes – one of them their own – is embarrassing while Russia crack open the vodka.
      Initial impressions for two showpieces still so far away is that both World Cups in question (2018 and 2022) will be viewed by most from these parts in front of a flatscreen rather than making the trip to either Russia or the sauna that is Qatar.

    • Seanán Kerr says:

      What a petty little example of journalism this is, so your spite and distaste for all things England means you’d rather have a world cup situated thousands of miles away than on your doorstep?

      FIFA is a repulsively corrupt organisation, and any journalistic investigations into it should be applauded. As a journalist one would think you’d show some concern at how investigations by the British media into FIFA damaged their world cup bid, instead of sneering and gloating (as if we in Ireland had anything to sneer or gloat about) like a spoiled child.

      If the media in Ireland had shown a similar thirst in seeking out corruption in this country as the BBC and the Sunday Times…

    • Wolfe says:

      Russia, no stadiums, thousands of miles between cities, few hotels or airports, but OIL MONEY. Qatar, unbelievable heat, no football tradition, no stadiums, a population of 1 million, but OIL MONEY. With all that going for them, did poor old Albion ever had a chance. LMFAO.

    • CL says:

      The funny thing is we’ll probably qualify for both of those WCs. Whenever major international tourneys are held near us – Euro96 in England, WC98 in France, Euro2000 in Belgium/Holland and WC2006 in Germany – we’ve failed. But when they’re a million miles away – USA94 and Japan/SKorea2002 – we’ve managed to get there. Game on…!

    • de profundis says:

      Oh dear! they’re not taking it well…! From ‘World Cup Willie’ to ‘Billy No Mates’ in a heartbeat…
      Apparently Russia have accused the heir apparent (hoho) of leaving in ‘an English way’ …without saying goodbye …what my father used to call ‘a soldier’s farewell’…!
      15 MILLION QUID for 1 vote…from Issa Hayatou…who he? tho’ three people have ‘claimed’ to have voted for UK ..!
      The post mortem has begun the country is in mourning we’ll be getting re-runs of the ‘Dambusters’ and Churchillian British bulldoggery…stiched up like kippers…hehehehe…

    • Tom Logan says:

      Do me a favour.You could buy some of the Fifa delegates votes for a toffee apple and a balloon

    • robespierre says:

      One thing is for certain the Russian bid choose some highly politically charged host cities that will not make it easy to get around. from the only non-contiguous part – cold war spy outpost of Kalinigrad to three cities in the caucuses they are definitely making a point.

      @7 – yes I am certain that the english probably played with a fairly straight bat. I am also certain that the not particularly famous Russian charm won the day. Mihir Bose made some interesting points on Newsnight last night.

      The FA are abysmal at participating in FIFA and probably (arrogantly) assumed the wealth of their main league put them front and centre. There are just 7 english people on the 34 committess of 12 in FIFA. Aside from corruption which I am sure played a part, I would also say this is a significant issue too.

      The FA don’t wear the club tie.

    • Joe Cahill says:

      Russia & Qatar might top the league for wealth but they come near the bottom on everything else and that not just the technical aspects of the bid. Definately no consideration given to the fans either.
      Sure it is a chance to gloat at England’s failure but the time would be better spent looking at the workings of FIFA. Why do only 22 people have a vote when the football is now played in every country. The allegations put forward by the British media……..is that it. Are we happy for FIFA to say there is no case to answer. Finally as an organisation they don’t pay tax!!.Why? Fianna Fail are on the way down due in part to cronyism what about FIFA next! No, no one will stand upto them …………..if you do witness what happens.

    • Dean Lamont says:

      Is it any wonder the irish have always been hated.

    • Paul Gallagher says:

      Top man Seanán and thanks for the vote of confidence but I fear you miss the point completely.

      Still trying to find out where exactly my “spite and distaste for all things England” was stated and where I’d “rather have a world cup thousands of miles away than on your doorstep”.

      The fact is glum faces were clearly evident within the English contingent and beyond that the post was pointing out that those who put the bid together had a natural get out by blaming the BBC for broadcasting said Panorama investigation. For what it’s worth, I “applauded” the Panorama programme and only wish it went further.

      Sure it would have been great to have a World Cup on our doorstep but there’s no denying two votes was a pitiful return. Perhaps England and the FA need to become more savvy when playing the diplomacy game Fifa insists on every time – either that or possess very deep pockets.

      Over to you…

      “Is it any wonder the irish have always been hated.” – Dean Lamont

      Ah Dean, don’t be like that…as a nation, we’re struggling enough as it is, where’s the love…

    • de profundis says:

      What’s the matter with you goys haven’t you got a sense of humour..?
      I think it was the ABUK factor wot done it…
      English arrogance…Football’s coming home…what could be more arrogant than that… their belief that they have some kid of Divine right to win the Ashes rule the waves the World/Jules Rimet Cup let alone host it…etc etc pisses people off…and now other countries are beginning to tell them where to go…
      What frightfully-awfully bad sports you are…!
      Why shouldn’t a non European country host the bloody thing…and why shouldn’t they use their financial muscle to do so it’s what the West have been doing since time immemorial…
      Were you complaining when it went to Asia or South Africa…? I think not…!
      It’s 44 years since they fluked the last one…having to listen to that as well the poxy Royal Wedding bollox would have been too much to bear…
      They think it’s all over..It is now…! hahaha

    • Clive says:

      interesting comments, as a brit i admit englands football team are overrated and hyped up every world cup. The fiasco of 2018 was exactly the same. Waste of money. What i cant understand is why quatar in 2022. That stinks. A few bucks passed under the table?
      PS in the 80s, we regarded the Irish team as Englands 2nd team, lol

    • de profundis says:

      ‘England should get over it and move on…They only got two votes…one of which was their own…Why shouldn’t Russia host the tournament…Nobody died…’ Roy Keane…I think he used to play a bit…!
      When you’re right you’re right…and I’m always right…!

    • albert hall says:

      The question to be asked, and in particular about English football is, will it be still around in 2018?

    • merry says:

      @albert hall. Yes

    • cheale says:

      As an Englishman (but one that lives outside the UK), I’m pleased that two countries that have never had it before have got it. Is there anything more off putting than the UK turning up expecting to win (dragging along people like Seb Coe – never played football, the useless Royals and fools like Beckham), and then when they don’t win (surprisingly other countries also want to win, they haven’t just entered to make up the numbers) throwing their toys out of the pram – apparently the temporary manager of the FA is crying that he doesn’t want his job, and we won’t play a friendly in Thailand. Then moaning about corruption after we were caught giving gifts to the wives of the FIFA committee members…. absolutely ridiculous. I wish my country would grow up.

    • de profundis says:

      The England team are… how an I put this…err…underperforming… Why…?
      Would it be anything to do with the dearth of home grown talent in the Premiership…the over reliance on elite European players…
      A significant proportion of so called ‘English’ players of any calibre are actually second generation or of Irish descent…
      However the English do love their football and the teams of the 60′s 70′s and 80′s had some great players…
      Perhaps that £15 million pounds would have been better invested in developing the game and home grown talent so they can actually compete in the International tournaments…
      Maybe the presentation would have been more effective had they sent a footballer who could speak English like wot she is meant to be spoke….Oh second thoughts…!

    • billytwocans says:

      England will get over it and move on a little wiser.(We did . . eventually. . after the Hand of Henri and the antics of that buffoon Blatter) Everyone knows that FIFA’s dealings on many levels don’t bear scrutiny. Sepp knows where all the bodies are buried, so no one will step out of line soon.Hopefully investigative journalists will continue to shine a spotlight on the low standards in high places at FIFA. You can fool some of the people . . .

    • albert hall says:

      The question is: Would you travel to Russia or the World Cup on a Russian built or operated plane? I believe that English football needed a kick in the pants and it got it by being ruled out as a country to host the World Cup. Many question have to be asked about players’ wages, behaviour, the high price of tickets, the inabiity to form a successful England team, the attitude of players against the referees, and the behavior of England fans abroad (it could use a lesson from Irish fans excellent behaviour abroad here). Last, but not least, is the FA and its failure to encourage football development of home-grown players across the country. FIFA ia another organisation that needs urgent examination? I am English, was born in London in the borough of West Ham but a Tottenham fan.

    • de profundis says:

      @19 A couple of points arising Mr Speaker….
      When ‘oor Jack’ was manager of Ireland he checked the Irish antecedents of all young players coming through
      the system and if he could find a connection he capped them to play for Ireland before they could be capped for
      England…this probably coincided with one of the best Irish teams…I
      Personally I don’t think Ireland should be playing soccer anyway but that’s a different argument for a
      another day….however it links in to my next point i.e. the value of GAA to GAArison games…skills such as
      toeing the ball… long kicks and high catches…Damien Duff and Rob Kearney being particular exemplars in their
      respective codes…
      Returning to the ‘beautiful game’…In England amateur footie was of course a working class sport and the
      players were more often than not from that background…
      However since it has become professional…and HUGE business…it has also become inaccessible to local
      people…the demographics have changed utterly and it is now a Corporate and financial game first and foremost
      with players parachuted in from all corners of the earth rather than being brought up through the ranks…
      and that is why…or at least partly why…the England team are no longer of the same calibre as the 1966
      squad…possibly…as Roy Keane pointed out so inimitably with his ‘prawn sandwich’ quip…
      You can the footballer out of Cork but you can’t take the Cork out of the footballer…err…that doesn’t sound quite
      right but you know what I mean…!

    • wee willie says:

      As a Scotsman who only supports two teams, Scotland and whoever plays England, I still think that Russia and Qatar as venues are ridiculous. However remember some people were actually proposing Ireland for the Olympics, of course that was in the heady days gone by

    • miT says:

      reply to CL. You didnt get to USA 94…

    • of course it is says:

      why are people seemingly happy about England not getting the world cup. If they had, it would be a short trip over to see matches and fly back the same day, not nearly as expensive as going and staying in Russia.

    • alocos says:

      Amazed to see that nobody refers to the best of all 4 bids which was undoubtedly the Iberian. 7 votes in the first round and 7 in the second. They should have consulted with Fianna Fáil prior to the ba(i)llo(u)t¡¡¡¡
      @ CL absolutely true, even without knowing the seedings, groups or whether goal-line technology will be in place we can start booking hotels.

    • steve says:

      Its a shame we lost the world cup bid. But at least we got the olympics and rugby world cup to cheer us up. Never mind. he he hee

    • de profundis says:

      @32 You do indeed Sir…and I hope you are so cheered..however ‘we’ have the O’Lympics every year…!

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