WAS anyone really surprised that, after investing fifteen million quid in an attempt to secure the 2018 World Cup, Ingerlaand lost out to the Ruskies?
After all, there is plenty of historical evidence pointing to the fact that those who control the game of soccer are perfectly happy to accept the regulation brown envelope stuffed with used fivers when it comes to making important decisions.
FIFA has already demonstrated its ambivalence to verified accusations of corruption within its ranks and its reluctance to do anything about it is obvious even to the impartial observer.
Evidently the chap who led Ingerlaand’s bid, someone called Andy Anson, thinks it’s not worth bidding again until the voting rules become more transparent, whatever that means. What Ingerlaand really needed was Bartie in charge of operations.
I wouldn’t have wasted time or money in pretending that there was any social or economic benefit in Ingerlaand hosting the competition.
Frankly it matters not a fig nor a fart where the game is played; the takings at the gate are what counts. Add on the TV rights, sponsorship and advertising revenue and the economies of small to medium-sized countries pale into insignificance. Opportunities to earn a substantial bonus are rife.
In the recent debacle a number of FIFA executives expressed admiration for Ingerlaand’s technical presentation, the available facilities and something called infrastructure. They were delighted to meet David Beckman, David Cameron and anyone else called David.
But what they really wanted was plush five-star hotel suites with complimentary champagne and hot and cold running house maids.
The sooner Andy Anson and his successors realise that entities like FIFA are not gentlemen’s clubs the better it will be. The only change to the voting rules that matter will be a guarantee that a fair distribution of brown envelopes will be maintained across all bidders. Stuff them as full as you like.