Friday, December 03, 2010

Football isn't coming home

So we're all gutted that England didn't succeed in its bid to host the world cup. Well, while I am gutted for football fans, I have to say that I didn't have a strong view either way about the merits of the bid - though it does raise an eyebrow or three that a country with a world class football infrastructure didn't get a chosen, while a country with a lot of sand and not much else was selected to host in 2022.

This morning it has emerged that FIFA shied away from England because of the media. If that is the reason that two only delegates voted for our bid, then it says everything we need to know about FIFA and nothing about the our ability to stage a world class football event. Here we have a hugely secretive, unaccountable body that is responsible for spending billions of dollars on sport choosing to stage its competitions in places where the media will not ask any awkward questions.

If we did lose the bid because of investigations by the Sunday Times and BBC, then let's raise a glass to a free media that is not afraid to lift the lid on murky goings on. It has to be better to lose than to win when there is a strong possibility that we would have won for reasons other than the quality of our bid. Media investigations of the IOC led to that body reforming itself and allowing the light in. FIFA needs to do the same and maybe we shouldn't be bidding to host anything it organises until it is so reformed.

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