Tag Archives: 2018

For FIFA’s sake…

I quite enjoyed the BBC Panorama documentary last night detailing corruption and fraud within football’s international governing body, FIFA. FIFA behaved consistently as if they do not need to respond to any of the fraud allegations, but we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been used for the development of the game, all ending up in the back pocket of FIFA board members. The BBC presented a number of new facts that proved illicit payments to at least three FIFA board members.

However, the argument in the UK media is that the BBC is unpatriotic to expose these people just a few days before the vote for which nation will host the 2018 World Cup. We are relying on these same people to vote for the England bid just as the BBC accuses them of fraud.

But the BBC is not the voice of the State. I would love to see England get the World Cup in 2018, but if the BBC affects the impression of England and a bunch of FIFA crooks don’t vote for our country because they don’t like to see their dirty laundry aired in public then doesn’t it demonstrate some much greater British values, not least about the freedom of the press?

Would anyone really want to see a situation where the BBC had evidence detailing how many bribes these FIFA officials have taken, but they kept quiet to ensure those same people voted for England?

Whether we win or lose this bid to host the 2018 World Cup, it’s time for the English FA to join forces with other national football associations and to demand that FIFA is entirely reformed… it should be an open, transparent, not-for-profit association developing football across the world, not a shady cabal of villains all earning millions by having their votes bought.

Boot on the other foot

Beckham our leader

David Beckham just handed over the England bid for the 2018 World Cup to FIFA.

Beckham used to be ridiculed for being a bit dim, vain, stereotypical, and not possessing any ability of communication – his efforts at public speaking were usually hampered by a staccato estuary English.

But in the past couple of years he has matured as a statesman for English support in a way that would have been thought impossible a decade ago. As his playing career declines, his ability to represent sport to international bodies and governments is clearly a direction he can move into with some confidence. He has even sorted out his speaking voice – listen to him talking about the 2018 bid with confidence and sounding more like a politician than a footballer.

If England win this bid, he should be the man charged with being the figurehead for the event.