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England's World Cup dream over

The team behind England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup said they felt "let down" after the crushing nature of their defeat was revealed.

Only two members of Fifa's 22-man executive committee voted for the £15 million England bid, meaning it was eliminated after the first round in Zurich. Russia went on to win the right to host the tournament.

David Beckham admitted some of the delegates had mentioned the allegations raised by BBC Panorama, while Prime Minister David Cameron said he did not know what more could have been done to win the vote.

Despite a bid described as "excellent and remarkable" by Fifa President Sepp Blatter, judges rejected sending the tournament back to England for the first time since 1966. Though the nation is blessed with excellent stadia, good transport links and policing, it is thought a number of behind-the-scenes factors possibly went against England.

The BBC's recent Panorama investigation accused three Fifa executive committee members of accepting "corrupt" payments and alleged that Fifa vice-president Jack Warner attempted to supply ticket touts. It was transmitted just three days ago.

Prince William said: "Well, obviously we're extremely disappointed and so is the team. We had a very strong bid but sadly it didn't work out. The guys have been doing a fantastic job, a really professional campaign and I'm immensely proud of them. Congratulations have to go to Russia. They won. Well done to them."

Asked what more England could have done to secure the tournament, Mr Cameron said: "I think that's for others to say. I would pay huge tribute and credit to David Beckham, who gave an inspirational speech, to Prince William, who worked incredibly hard and spoke brilliantly. The whole of the team worked round the clock. They produced the best technical bid, they produced a fantastic commercial bid, they brought the country together. It's hard to see what more you can do."

Beckham said: "The odd member mentioned the allegations (in Panorama) and what had been said, but look, I said yesterday and the day before it had been smoothed out and everything was looking positive."

England 2018 bid chief executive Andy Anson said the votes they expected to receive did not materialise.

"We were getting promises of votes and we honestly went in there thinking we had comfortably enough votes to get through the first round and had a very good path based on what people told us - looked us in the eye and told us. Clearly, some of those votes didn't materialise." He added: "I feel a bit let down."


From Belfast Telegraph