Harry Redknapp has suggested England had been the victims of a stitch-up in the vote for the 2018 World Cup.
Tottenham boss Redknapp reckons Russia may have known they were going to win the bid before the decision was made and believes Fifa's executive committee were following the money by awarding the eastern Europeans and Qatar consecutive tournaments in 2018 and 2022.
Redknapp, who is favourite to succeed Fabio Capello as national team manager in 2012, claimed it was “beyond belief” England garnered just one “measly” vote other than their own to suffer a humiliating first-round exit in Zurich. He said of the Russians, who surprisingly secured the 12 votes they needed in the very next round: “It was as if they knew.
“We send our Prime Minister over and everybody else goes over.
“The Russians, their prime minister (Vladimir Putin) doesn't go. It's as if he knows he's going to win. You read we were having meetings until five-o'clock in the morning; we're talking to the right people. But, obviously, they'd made their mind up. No talking in the world was going to make a difference.” Redknapp was adamant England had the best bid and should have won the vote.
He added: “Listen, we all know what's probably gone on. We can't probably say, can we really? It was amazing that suddenly two such wealthy countries have ended up with the World Cup there. Don't tell me that we haven't got a better product to offer than Russia in terms of football in this country.”
England's bid team, which included Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham, campaigned furiously in the days leading up to the vote.