Thursday, 2 December 2010

England one up on the Aussies

As the second test starts this evening, it's perhaps worth noting that England are already one up on the Aussies - not that either country will be proud of that achievement because it came in the World Cup voting. England scored a measly 2 votes in the bid to host the 2018 World Cup and Australia secured just a single vote in their bid for 2022.

I have significant doubts about the two countries selected as hosts. Both had received dodgy reports from the technical assessments and neither country is exactly ideally situated to be hosts. Russia's bid relies on huge amounts of internal travel (even if it is free) and Qatar involves a pretty long flight from just about everywhere.

Neither country has hosted a major tournament before - and it is good that football is reaching new places - but both have dodgy human rights records. Racism continues to be a problem in Russia which the authorities do not acknowledge and Qatar is a country which bans gay couples and still has a lot of people trafficking and slave labour.

What of England's bid? Clearly, for all the upbeat mood over the last 24 hours, we suffered because of the hooliganism last night and the investigations into FIFA's dodgy practices carried out by our media over the last few weeks. I don't condemn the Sunday Times or Panorama at all. FIFA is clearly an organisation with a lot of members who see corruption as normal. It urgently needs reform, but the current membership obviously did not look kindly on the activities of a free press.

David Cameron staked a lot on backing England's bid. Simply losing does not tarnish his efforts but it is surely a bit humiliating for him that, for all the effort he put in, he was only able to gain a single backer as a result.


martijn said...

Not sure if the "involves a pretty long flight from just about everywhere" is a valid argument. My guess is that, on average, South Africa is further away. So is, possibly, Brazil. As for internal travel, all the host cities are in the Western part of the country so I doubt this is worse than during the 1994 World Cup.

I followed the news around the world cup allocation on both the Dutch and the English news, neither of whom took the other very seriously, which was probably a sign. I kind of think Russia deserves it, but that's mostly for sentimental reasons (I have a weak spot for Russia, much as I don't like many things currently happening in Russia). Perhaps it'll bring some good things to the country.

Qatar is just a joke.

Bernard Salmon said...

The problem with Qatar is not the travel - South Africa was futher away for most competing teams - but with the extremely hot temperatures in the summer.