Come off it England!

Yet again the messenger is blamed for the message. Fuelled by that strange English sense of entitlement, the English bidding team have descended to blaming Panorama and the Sunday Times for what their media supporters oddly call their “humiliation”. If FIFA are corrupt and it was the Beeb wot lost it, where’s the humiliation? If humiliation there was, Jim White is right. It lay in the fact that the English spinners swallowed their own propaganda. Another version is at least possible. As Roy Greenslade records in his round-up of press reaction, it was left to the FT’s reporter to write: “Fifa’s choice of giant Russia instead of England was expected and looks logical,” he wrote. No other journalists dared to say that.

 Predictably Simon Jenkins makes the fundamentalist case for the media.( although Simon, the whole point about reptiles is that they can’t hold their heads high. See Genesis chap. 1).  Ace sports commentator James Lawton declares a moral victory for England (we used to do that all the time for Derry City in the old days). It’s hard to know yet where the vultures are going to land next. I doubt if much will stick to the Beeb any more than it did when Alex Ferguson imposed his sulky boycott on match interviews. Who knows if the corporation would have taken a different tack on the Panorama scheduling had they chosen to enter a bidding war with Sky over premiership rights? While historically it is written in BBC hearts that Panorama has the capacity to bring down the whole corporation, this has never actually happened. And on  holding back the Fifa allegations, I cannot quite imagine the conversation between the programme and the management. Think of  the headlines later: “Beeb in Fifa blackmail to win the World Cup.” Ironically, Fifa’s decisions will surely depress still further the status and quality of international football and with it, its cash value. Who knows, by 2018, they may be giving the rights away.

Now that FIFA have done their worst, they are surely more vulnerable than they were before 3 o’clock yesterday. Once it was all so easy. In 1954 I think it was, an uncle of mine who was a medical administrator in Belfast happened to be in Zurich for a conference. Although not especially keen on football, he decided to give the then FIFA boss England’s own Stanley Rous a call to see if he could supply a couple of match tickets. – any would do. Rous smilingly obliged.

Should today’s self-selecting oligarchs of FIFA and the IOC be allowed to exist , with their insistence on Zil routes through London’s streets in 2012? Probably not, but can you imagine the UN doing any better?

, , ,

  • “And on holding back the Fifa allegations

    Surely the timing wasn’t a cynical move to boost Panorama and BBC viewing figures …

  • Anon

    Russia were expected from the beginning, and at least sensible. Qatar is mind boogling. The technical report didn’t matter. The content of the bid didn’t matter. The best point wa son radio 5 live – if none of this stuff matters, why go through it? The answer is the gravy train it provides the members. England have a point, and I’m not normally sympathetic to their football.

    You don’t need the UN. You need to (1) expand the pool for votes to each member association so to make potential kickbacks harder (2) clearly state what the criteria are before the start, so that England don’t bother applying for a tournament destined to increase footballs reach (3) makle the technical reports more independent and bar automtically rule out any country that isn’t at a minimum level.

    Blatter is a fool – he’s suggested quarters, two year world cups and no video technology over the years. Oh and also failed to clamp dow on racism, a Russian problem incidently. FIFA is poisoned, like so much else in football by money. I just don’t see
    who can take FIFA on though.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    The typically biased debates on Sky news regarding the fallout were hilarious. So it will be another 20 years before England have a stab at it again. The home of soccer dejected. I would have given it to them. They have all the stadia, soccer was founded and standardised there…..but in anyway they still won’t win it again.

  • james

    I suppose lots of finger pointing will distract people from asking what did England actually spend £15,000,000 on in producing their bid, understand you need officespace, admin, etc. yes of course theres also ‘corporate entertainment’ and expenses, BUT £15,000,000 thats alot of cash for lunches and powerpoint presentations.

    Re FIFA the South Africa World Cup was an eye opener, the tax dodge and sponsorship deals. Not to mention how FIFA dictates how money handed out to the various FAs must be spent and more importantly who the cash is spent with

  • JAH

    The last World Cup was the first one that I lost interest in. Drab matches by unmotivated players (how unlike the Norn Irn team) and a lack of sparkle. It’s lost it’s way as a competition and unless there is a cleanup similar to the IOC I can see this competition becoming like Commonwealth Games. Something that happens but is routinely ignored.

    No country can bid in the future without the feeling that it’s a stitch up.

  • Jean Meslier

    Cameron, Wills, Seb, Becks, etc
    + 15 million spend
    = 1 vote for the mother of all World Cup bids.

    Theres something abraham lincoln goin on.
    Blame the Shinners. It’s always their fault.

  • Brian Walker

    Nevin, It’s a complete myth that even sensational Panoramas win many viewers. It’s true though that programme makers love pegs to increase impact. I’m pretty sure that the deadline was a factor as it is with a lot of journalism.

    It might have seemed easier for the BBC, had the programme been ready a week or a couple of weeks earlier. Arguably though, the impact and the controversy would have been all the greater.

    Delaying the programme to after the decision might have been tempting, but the charge could have been levelled that the BBC would then have become an accessory to a corrupt decision, as they were bound to stand over their own story..

  • drumlins rock

    The decision was based on geography, Eastern Europe was due its turn according to the president.

  • joeCanuck

    It’s always hard on people when they work so diligently and have nothing to show for it.
    But we’re in some familiar territory; England lose and some Irish folks take great delight it in.
    But what if they had won? All those wonderful games to come and only a short hop away/

  • Jean Meslier


    You know the craic.
    It’s the reaction of disbelief the limeys show when the world doesn’t support their god given right to stage the World Cup

    ” It’s these damned natives Cynthia”

  • Framer

    That Panorama programme was remarkably thin. Reheated allegations and lots of door stepping with a workery journalist being pushed around by fatcats minders (actually a Swiss hotel doorman).

    I am surprised it got through their editorial sieve. It seemed malicious in intent.

    What do they expect top football associations to behave like? Like BBC top brass with enormous salaries and gold plated pensions or small men who have been admitted to the bank vaults?

  • Anon


    Entirely legitimate. Why go through the motions?

  • Rory Carr

    It is tempting to think that Chief Executive of News International, James Murdoch must be regretting the Sunday Times’ exposé of two apparently corrupt Fifa officials as now the blame for England’s failure to secure the World Cup Tournament cannot be laid at the door of the BBC solely, thus depriving News International of another platform from which to continue its sustained attack on the Beeb. Not that that will stop other organs in the Murdoch stable from trying one imagines.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    As George Bernard Shaw said “the English are never beaten fairly” and I cant imagine too many sore hearts in Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff or Glasgow.
    Indeed the sense of “entitlement” and the over-confidence in sending “Prince William” and soon to be Sir David Beckham to Zurich backfired splendidly. And adds to the meeriment of the nation on Mock The Week or Have I Got News For You.
    Jim White is of course right in everything ..he is after all a Manchester United supporter…..and theres much fun to be had on footy message boards right now.
    England lost because foreigners had a vote….thats the theme. Johnny Foreigner strikes again. Arshavin will be booed for th rest of the season (he applauded the Russian choice in Zurich apparently)
    The Russians are corrupt…nobody knew that before apparently.
    And Blatter is a Nazi……..well hes German and apparently thats the same thing.
    And two world wars, one world cup.

    Yet the curiousity is that only two from twenty two voters voted for Ingerland……and one was actually England. So why on earth did the English delegation not pick up on that earlier this week.
    There could have been a lot of back slapping yesterday. But today its all back stabbing.

    The Sky/BBC thing is actually interesting. Anyone watching the Sky coverage of footy in early part of this season will have noticed that Sky has been rubbishing the World Cup…….which of course they did not have the broadcast rights for. Too many players are “exhausted” for Premiership duty.
    So I dont think its related to BBC Premiership rights so much as Sky waving the England flag and winding little Englanders up.
    I dont like the choice of Russia but theres a certain logic to it.
    I dont understand Qatar…….except money.
    But how will women and boozy fans fare there?
    Or Peter Tatchell?
    Apparently Qatar is only one of three members of the IOC who dont permit women to play some form of sport. So the likelihood of Blatters wish to see women play football in sexier outfits sems lost on Qatar.
    (Incidently shamefully Manchester United is the only premiership team without a womens team).

    But the £15 million spent intrigues me. It didnt go on bribes. But who received it ? (airlines…..first class?……… hotels? thats a lot of vol au vents at receptions).
    And these bidding wars are a complete nonsense. A bit like Mel Brooks “The Producers”….it is probably better to spend a lot of money on handpicked PR firms to lose a bid than it is to actually WIN the bid.
    Londoners dont seem so enthused about the Olympics.

    And the mono rail was a big waste of money for Springfield in the Simpsons.
    How are these places actually chosen for Commonwealth Games, Olympics, World Cup………and while we are at it………”UK” City of Culture..

  • Rory Carr

    ….and the BBC are already preparing a defence against an anticipated onslaught – Radio $’s noon news bulletin headlined with a mention of corruption in Fifa “exposed by the Sunday Times and Panorama“, making sure to get the Sunday Times’ involvement right up front of house.

  • cynic47

    FIFA is just a mirror reflection of what the IFA is here in Belfast, or hopefully was! Its made up of very ambitious people who have walked over dead bodies to get to the position they are in. Its about ego, free this and free that and trips all around the world. Its about self interest in everything they decide and it sure as hell is not about football. Football is only the game that gives these people a platform. England officials are right to be miffed but they are still part of this unclean stable and after licking their wounds will be at the next cup final sitting in the best seats and drinking fine wines.The mind set on show is entirely global. Football in Northern Ireland was shafted by these same people over player eligibility and the silence from the English sporting press was deafening and don’t expect a Panorama special about it anytime soon.

  • Rory Carr

    Anyway instead of sending an amateur in under-the-table fixes, such as Prince William, to negotiate it would surely have been much wiser to send his uncle, Andrew who seems to know a thing or two about what is required to get things done and doesn’t fuss with namby pamby issues like ethics and disdain of bribery standing in the way. But then perhaps he was already signed up by Quatar.

  • cynic47

    Just heard the England spokeman claim that delegates told him that the British media had lost them the bid. Hide corruption and keep your mouth shut and you are still part of the club! Expose the dirt and you are taught a lesson. Would England really rather have had the press bin what they knew? Isn’t there a saying out there that says something like bad men only prosper when good men keep their mouth shut?

  • John East Belfast


    “Fuelled by that strange English sense of entitlement..”

    That of course is a matter of your opinion – especially in this instance. I think any reasonable person would have believed that the England bid deserved more than two votes.

    I also dont understand the “gloating” on this – it is one thing taking pleasure in England failures on the pitch (not something I do myself) but having a World Cup an hour’s flight from us could only be good.

    Especially if NI or ROI were to qualify then we could have hopped over @ minimum cost.

    It would have been good for the economy and undoubtedly the Irish construction industry.

    Therefore I can think of no good reason why any Irish man would not be unhappy at this decision.

  • Anon


    Therefore I can think of no good reason why any Irish man would not be unhappy at this decision.

    It would have been handy, but we’re not England. If either Ireland qualifies then a lot of peole will travel regardless of where it is. The process is a farce, though.

  • John Ó Néill

    I simply took the Panorama and Beeb coverage as equalising before the other team scores (to paraphrase Danny Blanchflower, I think). They knew they wouldn’t get it as Russia was a slightly more obvious choice.
    The Qatar selection is bizarre except if you look at how oil money is running soccer clubs as rich Arab boy toys. If I was the English FA I’d keep my powder dry – I’d not guarantee that either Russia or Qatar will definitely be in a social or economic position to hold those World Cups and they may get a second bite at the cherry.

  • pippakin

    I wanted Spain and Portugal to win. I’m deeply suspicious of the Russian victory. I don’t care about England but I’m sick of the allegations of corruption. I’m also sick and tired of Sebb Blather international statesman.

    FIFA does need sorting out. It needs a transparent voting system and people who serve sport not, allegedly, themselves.

  • An Ceide

    The whole process of selection should be changed, how much does the technical capability of a nation come into the voting?

    Why does such a small proportion of FIFA delegates vote, surely it should be an open vote for every nation in the world or would that take the ball/money out of the main players hands?

    Fifa like to talk about bringing football to new frontiers and to an extent you can see why they voted for russia but Qatar is just a joke, what will happen the stadiums after the world cup has come and gone?

    Surely Qatar getting to host a world cup paves the way for nations who would never have thought it even possible to host it throwing their names in the hat for future tournaments.

    It will be interesting to see the treatment the african teams will receive in russia…….

  • Billy Pilgrim


    I don’t really sense that Irish people are crowing about this, or indeed that we’re anything other than slightly disappointed not to have the greatest show on earth happening next door.

    There may, however, be a certain wicked pleasure to be had in seeing bad losers losing. In seeing extreme hubris coming a-cropper.

    Wouldn’t you agree that our English friends, for all their many virtues, are just a tad hubristic? And is there anywhere this is more clearly demonstrated than in football matters?

    As to whether they should have got more than two votes: Holland/Belgium and Spain/Portugal represent very tough competition, never mind Russia. Perhaps the idea of WC matches at Plymouth, Bristol and Milton Keynes doesn’t have much appeal?

  • Oracle

    The news that England failed in the World Cup bid should not come as any great surprise and for several reasons.
    While the British media have been spouting how well the England bid was going and how wonderfully professional it was and how the great and the good were on board in their pursuit of the mere formality of a power-point display they failed to take stock of the feelings of the other 7 billion people on the planet into consideration.

    No one else in Europe wanted an England bid to succeed irrespective of the Sunday Times and Panorama accusations, it was their arrogance “wot lost it”

    These are business minded people, football is a business and to send David Beckham as an ambassador come expert was just one of the English mistakes in an encyclopedia full of them.
    I’m sure Miss World is a beautiful woman who knows how to win beauty contests but I’ll wager she’s as thick as shyte and if I was considering putting on a beauty contest somewhere in the world to make money, I’d be interested in listening to financial logistical media and advertising experts, not some brainless tart with big tits!
    David Beckham was a brilliant free kick specialist and could cross a ball onto a pound coin from 40 yards but he’s never going to win mastermind or hell for that matter even a game of trivia pursuit against Comrade Stalin.
    So why did the English show such stupendous arrogance in thinking a financially motivated audience would be bowled over by his mere presence, well the answer to that is they just haven’t been snubbed hard enough in the past to force them to change their attitude and bite their lip and learn by their mistakes.

    Most of the world is a republic why did the English FA think they’d all be impressed with one of the front-men for the English bid being an aristocrat who likes to show off his chopper? Who hadn’t the sense to realise his pending state funded wedding is only of interest to the media in his own country and Hello magazine, no one else gives a regimental toss.

    Did the England bid team not realise that bragging about the up coming Olympics to England’s capital only reinforced peoples mind that they had benefitted enough from international show-pieces and perhaps they should be shared around a bit.

    I suppose the answered to the above questions are obviously not and the same questions in the future will be answered they same way until they extract their heads from their own elitist back-sides and take a good look around, the worlds changing and the “Niggers Wogs and Wops” aren’t in awe anymore.

  • elishascott

    You don’t accuse the house of FIFA of bribery and gets away with it. If England want to host another world cup they’ll have to get with the ‘programme’, show them the money and then you might make it past the second round.

    Some odious characters at FIFA, Blatter, Warner, Texeira(CBF top man who was married to former fifa president Joao Havelange daughter) the ‘guardians’ of the beautiful game .

    The FA though have plenty of previous themselves it was they that voted for Blatter against their own man Lennart Johannson of UEFA in 1998 and the alleged gentlemans agreement not to stand against Germany for hosting the World Cup in 2006 after the Germans had supported their bid for Euro 96. Lord Triesman having to stand down over his off the record briefing about the Spanish and Russian bids.

    When Panorama decided to air their programme it was called unpatriotic and Mr Transparency David Cameron decided he’d neatly sidestep all that because he had to schmooze up to Jack Warner, so no sense crying foul of getting done by the FIFA mafia now. Maybe Beckham didn’t do enough keepy ups for Jack or Wills was a bit stingy when it came to handing out evening invites for the wedding.

    It will be interesting to see how Russia do in 2018 and FIFA Village in 2022, plenty of suncream will be required.

    As the name suggests the World Cup, should be for the World but unfortunately until this sordid little private members club is reformed, football and the supporters will be the losers and no amount of free coca cola footballs to africa or for the good of the game slogans will change that.

  • Mark

    Channel 4 news last night had some official claiming the Russians paid Z.Zidane 15 million to be their special ambassador . Don’t know if its true but its a great rumour . When all is said and done the main reason England failed in their bid is because they are England and regardless of whether its in sport , politics , entertainment or whatever , very few people have any time for anything english . If they can’t win the bleedin Eurovision they are hardly going to get to host the world cup.

  • Brian Walker

    John East and others. I defend ” the strange sense of entitlement ” judgement – which refers to England’s sense of somehow being cheated out of their due. The decision to encourage the Russians is perfectly logical – the English should even take comfort in it as the Russians won on different criteria. It can’t be read as obviously corrupt, no other explanation being possible – whatever the level of corruption around .

    For the record I don’t gloat, far from it. To me it’s pretty mean to be like those chippie Scots, not to support England at top level unless some of the wee Celts are in contention.

  • John D

    Mark’s comparison with Eurovision is nice — there is always(or used to be) a sense of entitlement for the British whenever that contest comes round. But of course it’s the plain people of Europe who vote in that particular case, not some shady international bureaucrats

    If England/the UK is serious about Fifa corruption, why don’t they set up an Alternative World Cup, with all competitors signing up to a code of ethics beforehand, no behind-the scenes deals, full transparency, promises kept etc? (Just like our inspiring coalition) …

  • What would happen if Israel qualified for the Quatar World Cup?

  • joeCanuck


    I’ve been away for so long and now only really watch the World Cup. Does Israel have a half decent world squad?

  • Kevin Barry


    Don’t have a link but have heard that it wouldn’t be a problem. Supposedly one of the only Arabic countries where Israeli sportsmen/women have participated in a sporting event.

    Not impressed with Qatar getting 2022; was routing for Australia

  • pippakin

    How many countries football teams have the same measure of support/intense dislike that the England football team can raise with hardly a blink?

    England is the big money spinning gun and to deny that is to lie. I don’t care who won the rights to the world cup but I have reached the stage of real contempt for hypocrisy and corruption.

    I doubt it was England FIFA cared about. I think it was the ‘untamed’ English media, trouble is if FIFA think its all over now – I think they are probably very, very wrong. Knives will be out. If England had lost the bid in the second round the media would not have had to take the blame, nor would they have an axe to grind. The English media have to be amongst the most formidable in the world and unlike the England football team, they rarely lose.