After a sporting summer in which the England football team could have been outclassed by a flu-ridden German women’s volleyball squad, we can’t even bring football home and win the right to host the World Cup in 2018, losing out to Russia and Qatar – who will host the following tournament in 2022. I’m all for taking the World Cup to far-flung places and injecting some unpredictability into the bidding process but if things continue like this, the Isle Of Man stand a good chance of winning the rights for 2046.
I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that on the same day Russia were announced as World Cup hosts, Wikileaks released secret US cables detailing how the ambassadors of various nations believe Vladimir Putin’s Russia to be “a Mafia state”. Who knows what bribes were offered to bring the tournament to deepest, darkest, Eastern Europe but something tells me Roman Abramovich, Chelsea owner and one of the prominent faces of the bid, had to stroke a lot of sinister-looking white cats while in meetings with top FIFA executives to come out on top.
It is especially disappointing since Tweedle Dee (Prince William), Tweedle Dum (David Beckham) and Tweedle Tory Twat (David Cameron) were lobbying the FIFA voters intensely. According to Sepp Blatter, FIFA top bod, England’s bid was “excellent”. Yet in FIFA’s infinite wisdom, the tournament is awarded to a country which will have to build new stadiums, infrastructure and hotels from scratch and construct vast new railway systems, as most current proposed sites for stadiums are just a water well, three mud huts and a yak.
Even more astonishingly, the following tournament is to be held in Qatar, a bid which triumphed over the US, Australia, Japan and South Korea and promises to design stadiums with in-built air-conditioning to battle the high temperatures in the Middle East, before demolishing the sporting arenas and sending them to a third world country, which impressed the gullible executive committee.
Great. You’re a starving African child, struggling to get enough nutrition to stay alive, but wait! Some rich Arabs are giving you an air-conditioned football stadium! It’s not exactly Children In Need, is it?
So the tournament is following the gas in 2018 and the oil in 2022. Football was supposed to be a game the Yanks didn’t much care for, but favouring the producers of energy is straight from the US of A textbook on ‘How To Balls The World Up (Again)’. Mexico and America have had the World Cup three times between them since our famous home victory in 1966 and we were rejected in favour of the Germans in 2006. It’s a sad, sad time to be English.
Then again, the defeat could be seen as a relief, mainly because revelations in the past few months have seen FIFA embroiled in scandal. Two executive committee members were suspended after being accused of corruption by The Sunday Times. The chair of FIFA’s ethics committee, Claudio Sulser, nonetheless criticised the paper for being “sensationalist”. Surely suspending the members indicates that a serious breach of ethics must have taken place, yet Sulser deemed fit to criticise journalists doing their job of exposing corruption in high office. It’s like a policeman hunting down a murderer, witnessing the prosecution sentence the criminal to life behind bars, and then having the judge turn to the copper and say: “You’re actions were a bit sensationalist… The victim may have died but there wasn’t much blood and it was quickly cleaned away by a squirt of Cillit Bang”.
The BBC also aired a Panorama expose in which they alleged three more members of the FIFA executive committee had taken bribes totalling £64.2 million. However, England’s bid team were so desperate to win, they declared the BBC broadcast an “embarrassment” and pleaded with the corporation to show the investigation after the vote, for fear that it may influence some key decisions. Basically they were saying: “Call them all corrupt bastards once we have what we want but until then, mum’s the word”. Even The Sun, just months after its sister paper the News of the World splashed on a story of match-fixing in cricket, called the BBC “unpatriotic” for showing the film. How dare they expose serious corruption and fraud! How dare they put England’s chances of hosting a World Cup at risk! How dare they get to a story before we could to sell more papers!
And somehow people are sad we haven’t won. Like we don’t have enough corrupt, money-grabbing hate figures clogging up our corridors of power, eh?