World Cup 2018 – 15 days to decision

Fancy a flutter? England to be successful and get the nod from FIFA to host the 2018 World Cup? The wonderfully whiter than white moral guardians that are the English media in the guise of the Sunday Times and the BBC, have done their best to undermine the bid. The Sunday Times through an undercover sting, exposed two executive committee members, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, who it is alleged were willing to offer their World Cup votes in return for money for football projects. The two men concerned deny the charges and face a FIFA Ethics Committee hearing this week into the newspaper’s claims. The BBC (in its wisdom) has decided to screen a Panorama special just 3 days before the FIFA awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, into the World Governing body.

It has now left the England Bid team having to write to FIFA distancing themselves from corruption allegations made against football’s world governing body by the British media. The fact is that in a country where there is free speech, then everyone is entitled to their opinion and speak out. The Sunday Times and the BBC would argue that they are merely expressing that right and looking to help FIFA by exposing corruption. However, do these organisations think they will wipe out corruption through what they have done? What happened to investigative journalism? Can stories only be obtained through deceit, or as the Qatar 2022 Committee Member said by “…washing dirty linen, with dirty water…”.

However, the England Bid team will be heartened that Evaluation Reports on the various bids released today, were at least positive on the English proposals. The report released is only an Executive Summary of the full report which is used as part of the decision process. However, a World Cup in England is viewed as “low risk” and was praised in relation to, transport, stadia, IT, security, marketing, and legacy. There are some issues around venue-specific training sites, venue-specific team hotels and training base camp hotels, which numbers wise don’t currently meet the FIFA requirements. Nevertheless, the England camp are saying that theses areas of concern are already in-hand and being discussion with FIFA in terms of resolution.

Of the other Bids, the joint Spain/Portugal bid and that of Russia, are also given a low risk rating, whilst the joint bid from Netherlands/Belgium has received a medium risk assessment.

The England Bid needs all the support it can get right now. Therefore, it is hoped the media in this country are as vigorous with the positive news about the Executive reports as they were negative in the feeding frenzy of the Sunday Times story.