According to reports England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup is hanging in the balance because of the British media’s investigations into how FIFA (the world football governing body) is run – the findings of these investigations demonstrating a not insignificant amount of corruption throughout the organisation. The Sunday Times accused both Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii of selling their votes determining where the World Cup will end up. FIFA have suspended the two offenders, but apparently the whole incident has poisoned many of the other delegates against the England bid – which had previously been one of the favourites. A BBC Panarama programme also investigating FIFA was shown earlier this week, prompting the chief executive of England’s bid Andy Anson to call the BBC unpatriotic because the further damage it will apparently do to England’s chances.
The whole situation is quite frankly ridiculous. A free press which investigates and therefore eradicates corruption is surely a positive. FIFA are punishing England because our media had the freedom and ability to find that there was something wrong with their organisation. I can accept that there will always be a certain amount of hoop jumping when applying to host something like the World Cup, but surely there has to be a limit. Instead of condemning the BBC, Anson should have the courage to say that the investigations are worthwhile and valuable if the whole organisation is going to get cleaned up. The decision should be entirely based on the ability of the country to host the tournament, not about who your press pissed off in the FIFA hierarchy.
With the transport links and quality of stadia in England we surely have an excellent case to host the tournament. If we don’t get it because another bid has better facilities than us then that is fair. If we don’t get it because our country has the freedom to highlight FIFA’s corruption, and the members vote against us to show solidarity with their crooked colleagues, then it is a complete farce.