Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A World Cup worth winning?

How dreadful is FIFA? I mean, really? What a horrible and corrupt organisation. The bribes, the backhanders and the greed of officials is bad enough, but the contract that host countries have to sign up to was the single biggest thing that appalled me about Monday's Panorama. So, there's a chance now that the bid will be lost. And already they're lining up to blame "the British media" and the investigative reporter Andrew Jennings, a long time critic of FIFA who has waged a war against the organisation.

Jim White in the Daily Telegraph asks - was that it? - World Cup 2018: only loser is the BBC as Panorama programme fails to deliver knockout blow.

But as Paul Hayward asks in the Guardian - Do we really want to pay this price to host the 2018 World Cup?

This is a balanced and reflective piece from the Daily Maverick in South Africa.

I think it will be fun to have the World Cup here. And Manchester will be a central location for major games. On balance I still hope England wins. The decision will be broadcast in a live screen in Exchange Square in Manchester on Thursday. Then there are plans for parties around town. Or wakes. I suspect the only party will be at St Petersburg restaurant.


Vinjay said...

Well it won't be coming to Blackburn so personally I'm not hugely fussed by who gets it.

Still it looks unpredictable. Sky news just mentioning England were considered 3rd favourites at 3/1 by one of the bookies until Beckham gave his live press conference this morning. I believe odds have been slashed to 2nd favourites since then. His interview was very "political" so I wouldn't put any great emphasis on his answers but it seems to have had a positive effect on the general public.

Michael Taylor said...

This is from The Fiver today - brilliant:

Having spent the past 36 hours burrowing their way so far up the backsides of assorted Zurich-based Fifa blazers that a team of doctors from the local Dignitas clinic are on standby to pull them out of their misery, it's small wonder that David Beckham, Prince William and David Cameron appear to have lost all sense of perspective.

Possibly overcome by the fetid stench of the well-fed digestive tracts in which they find themselves enveloped, the England 2018 bid's Three Lions, so dubbed in a transparently pathetic attempt to impress official Fifa sponsors Adidas, seem immune to the unseemly Festival of Brown-Nosing at which they're cravenly supplicating like the fawning lickspittles of the English press pack at a Sir Alex Ferguson press conference.

Ignoring the fact that the UK boasts a prime minister and heir to the throne who are prepared to blithely overlook allegations about corruption and multi-million pound financial impropriety because it suits them, it was the England 2018 bid team's declaration that the episode of Panorama which made these allegations "should be seen as an embarrassment to the BBC" that has got the Fiver's radge on.

All of which shady lack of scruples means we're off to live with our Stolichnaya-drinking, Cossack-dancing, army surplus-selling, Lada-driving, Communist-propagandising, mob-bossing, Gulag-dwelling Russian cousin Valery Aleksandr Rasputin Fiverski, who is lucky enough to live in a country run by a bastion of morality who has decided to have no truck with any such shenanigans, despite being one of England's bid rivals.

Not content with looking like Everton defender Tony Hibbert, Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin has pulled out of attending tomorrow's ceremony on the grounds that the whole jamboree is "unscrupulous". Which was all very heartening to learn until we realised that isn't corrupt Fifa bigwigs he's upset with, but the English media for investigating them.

"We have unfortunately witnessed a campaign against members of the Fifa executive filth and compromising material has been poured over them," snarled Putin, whose own methods of dealing with hacks that displease him mean you won't read anything critical about him here. "I would have liked to have gone myself but under these conditions, I have decided to refrain from travelling out of respect for the members of the Fifa executive," he continued, pulling off the impressively statesmanlike feat of toadying up to the blazers, without actually having to suffer the trauma of spending time in their odious company.

As we wait for the Big Announcement tomorrow, contenders for World Cup 2022 have been presenting their bids to the well-fed men that matter. At the time of writing, South Korea had announced that staging World Cup 2022 would help them unite with their completely insane northern neighbours, while Qatar used PowerPoint to demonstrate how victory for them would unite the entire Middle East. Unwilling to engage in unfair dinkum by making promises they can't keep, Australia relied on their usual staple of wheeling out Elle McPherson to show an episode of Neighbours, followed by a montage of a coral reef, Tim Cahill and a kangaroo.