Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 1 August 2015

World Cup fix fears as humiliated England licks wounds

Published 03/12/2010 | 00:00

Children from St Johns School in Manchester show their disappointment after the announcement of the FIFA World Cup
Children from St Johns School in Manchester show their disappointment after the announcement of the FIFA World Cup
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: An England football fan look on after hearing the news that the 2018 FIFA World Cup host nation has been granted to Russia instead of England on December 2, 2010 in London, England. England was one of four competing bids to stage the 2018 World Cup which FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the winner of in a ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland today. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
Young children react in Manchester as they watch on the big screen the England 2018 World Cup bid fail with winning bid going to Russia during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement event at the Deansgate, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
England fans react as they watch the England 2018 World Cup host bid lose out to Russia during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement event at The Scoop, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA Story: SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
Prince William (centre) after the announcement of the failed England 2018 bid during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA Story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
A general view as England fans react as they watch the England 2018 World Cup host bid lose out to Russia during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement event at The Scoop, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA Story: SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reacts as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a Russia 2018 press conference at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. Russia have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup finals following an announcement at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich today after beating rivals England and joint bids between Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium. See PA Story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich reacts as Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a Russia 2018 press conference at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. Russia have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup finals following an announcement at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich today after beating rivals England and joint bids between Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium. See PA Story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Young children in Manchester watch the big screen, as FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces the England 2018 World Cup bid fails with winning bid going to Russia during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement event at the Deansgate, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a Russia 2018 press conference at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. Russia have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup finals following an announcement at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich today after beating rivals England and joint bids between Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium. See PA Story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks at a Russia 2018 press conference at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. Russia have been awarded the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup finals following an announcement at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich today after beating rivals England and joint bids between Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium. See PA Story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
FA President Prince William reacts after England failed to win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement at the Zurich Exhibition Centre, Zurich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA Story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
A young man holding a Russian flag hands out free national flags to motorists in downtown Moscow, to celebrate FIFA's selection of Russia as host to the 2018 World Cup, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. Russia was announced as host of the 2018 tournament. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Young children in Manchester react as they watch on the big screen the England 2018 World Cup bid fail with winning bid going to Russia during the 2018/22 World Cup Hosts Announcement event at the Deansgate, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday December 2, 2010. See PA story SOCCER World Cup. Photo Credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02: England 2018 Ambassador David Beckham congratulates Roman Abramovich of the winning Russia bid during the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Announcement on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02: England 2018 Ambassador David Beckham congratulates Roman Abramovich of the winning Russia bid during the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Announcement on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02: The Emir State of Qatar HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani and Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned are presented with the World Cup Tophy by FIFA President Joseph S Blatter after winning the bid for 2022 duirng the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Countries Announcement at the Messe Conference Centre on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: England football fans react after hearing the news that the 2018 FIFA World Cup host nation has been granted to Russia instead of England on December 2, 2010 in London, England. England was one of four competing bids to stage the 2018 World Cup which FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the winner of in a ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland today. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
FIFA President Sepp Blatter names Qatar as the winning hosts of 2022 duirng the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Countries Announcement at the Messe Conference Centre on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland.
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02: Student Reynaldo Calderin of the Business of Sports School reacts following the announcement that the United States lost out on its bid to host the 2022 World Cup today to Qatar on December 2, 2010 in New York City. Russia was chosen as the host nation for the 2018 World Cup. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02: England Manager Fabio Capello arrives with London Mayor Boris Johnson before the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Announcement on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 02: Bill Clinton of the USA bid looks on during the FIFA World Cup 2018 & 2022 Host Announcement on December 2, 2010 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Prince Charles, Princess of Wales, (L) meets with Laurel and Hardy tribute act Graeme Hardy and Jeremy Newsome Smith as he attends a reception for the 'Not Forgotten Association' at St. James's Palace State Apartments on December 2, 2010 in London, England. The Prince and England were disappointed today after losing to Russia in their bid to stage the FIFA 2018 World Cup. (Photo by Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Prime Minister David Cameron speaks with Prince Charles (C) and Marks & Spencer Chairman Stuart Rose (R) during the Business in the Community annual general meeting on December 2, 2010 in London, England. Cameron and England were disappointed today after losing to Russia in their bid to stage the FIFA 2018 World Cup. (Photo by Andrew Winning - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: England football fans react after hearing the news that the 2018 FIFA World Cup host nation has been granted to Russia instead of England on December 2, 2010 in London, England. England was one of four competing bids to stage the 2018 World Cup which FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced the winner of in a ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland today. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
A Christmas tree is installed on Red Square with St. Basil Cathedral in the background in Moscow, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010. Russia was announced as host of the 2018 tournament. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

The team behind England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals were last night left fearing they had been victims of a fix.

They earned just two votes from the Fifa executive committee in a crushing defeat to Russia that ended any hope of England hosting their first World Cup tournament since 1966.

Russia’s 2018 chief executive, Alexei Sorokin, told a member of the English bid team on Wednesday that the Russians believed they already had the necessary votes in the bag.

Yesterday, Russia took just two rounds of voting to earn an outright majority, defeating both bids from Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium in the second round.

The chief executive of England's 2018 bid, Andy Anson, offered a brutal summary of the country's position when he admitted, “I don't think people like us”.

Intimating that there was also resentment of the success of the Premier League, he added: “You know what, we have got the strongest league in the world and we are proud as hell of it and that is not going to change.”

Anson also questioned how England could finish first in Fifa's technical and economic evaluations into the bidding nations and yet attract so few votes from the 22 men on the all-powerful committee.

“I honestly felt that we had enough comfort, enough people, to hope that things would go all right and we would go through the first round,” he added.

“For me the biggest disappointment is that we clearly had the best technical bid and the best economic evaluation. Everyone has told me we had the best presentation. David Dein [the bid's international chairman] and myself, David Cameron, David Beckham and Prince William looked people in the eye and asked them for their vote. We were being told 'Yeah'. I am not sure what else you could do.”

Anson described the money spent on the technical report as “£3m down the drain” because “the two bids with the worst technical reports won”. He added: “I do feel that some people let us down. Yeah, I would be lying if I said they didn't let us down. Clearly people who promised us their vote didn't vote for us.”

Beckham, who led England's presentation, along with Prime Minister Cameron and Prince William said that it was one of the worst days in his career. “I just had a feeling when I was sat there, I didn't know the result but I sensed it,” he said.

“There is a lot of disappointment and emotions running around the bid team.

“When you do work so hard at something and don't get anything it is disappointing and crushing.

“There is huge disappointment.” Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, who had accused the English media of “smearing” Fifa in all but name in a statement on Wednesday, insisted the World Cup fight has been “fair”.

He said: “Each bid is very special and significant. Each bid is a challenge and we are honoured to win in this tough and fair fight.” Mr Putin dismissed the suggestion that England had been “cheated” out of holding the World Cup. He replied: “No, I don't think so.

“You know, Great Britain is a great football country and in Russia we have a lot of fans of your football.”

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