Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Football Association

The 2006 World Cup Campaign



Previous evidence to the Select Committee

  1.1  In February 1999, The Football Association (The FA) submitted written and oral evidence to the Committee about England's Bid to host the 2006 World Cup. The FA's memorandum set out the role of The FA, the objectives of the campaign, the reasons why The FA believed that England should stage the tournament, including the economic justification, and described the strong support the Government was giving to the Bid. Among the conclusions and recommendations of the Committee's Report of May 1999, the Committee commented that: "So far, The Football Association's Bid to stage the 2006 World Cup appears to be well-conceived, well-managed and well-executed. The support offered by the Government, most notably by the Minister of Sport [Mr Tony Banks] and the staff of British Embassies and High Commissions, appears to have been exemplary". A little more than a year later, on 6 July 2000, the Executive Committee of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) decided that Germany should host the 2006 World Cup.

  1.2  This further memorandum, submitted by The FA, goes back to the origins of England's Bid, traces the history of the campaign, analyses some of the key ingredients of the Bid and obstacles to be overcome, seeks to draw the lessons of England's defeat and makes suggestions about bidding for future international sporting events.

The FIFA World Cup

  1.3  Together with the Olympic Games, the FIFA World Cup is the largest international sports event, currently held every four years. The last FIFA World Cup final was held in France in 1998 and the next will be in 2002, jointly in Japan and Korea. FIFA determines the venue of each World Cup six years before the event. Unlike the Olympic Games, for which, at least until recently, each member nation had a vote, FIFA delegates to its 24-man Executive Committee responsibility for deciding the venues of its World Cup. Members of the Committee, whose numbers reflect the strength of the game in each continent, are elected by the six regional Confederations, which comprise FIFA. A list of members of the Committee serving on 6 July 2000 is at Appendix 1[1]. FIFA's President is currently Joseph Blatter, Switzerland, while the four home unions are represented by David Will of Scotland, a Vice-President of FIFA.

  1.4  In August 2000, following the hotly contested and controversial outcome of the voting for both the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, FIFA decided to adopt a system whereby regions will each, by rotation, host the tournament. Quite how this will be done has yet to be determined. For the 2006 World Cup, any of FIFA's 203 member nations could have submitted a bid, although the demands of a modern World Cup are such as to restrict credible (single country) bidders to about 20. Notable among FIFA's "Requirements" (Appendix 2[2]) is that host nations must have around ten football stadia, at least two of which seat 60,000 or more spectators, whilst the others seat at least 40,000. Infrastructure requirements—for hotels, transport, telecommunications, security, etc.—are equally demanding. While eight national football associations notified FIFA of their wish to bid for 2006, only five—England, Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco—confirmed their intentions to bid, the first three looking to be the strongest contenders.

  1.5  FIFA's "Requirements for the Organising National Association" were later supplemented by "Guidelines for Bidders". In issuing these, the FIFA Executive Committee hoped that for the 2006 World Cup contest, pressures previously placed upon them, and the attendant bad publicity, would be reduced. Allegedly, in bidding for the 2002 World Cup, gifts of cars and cameras, not to mention scholarships, were offered by the main contestants, Japan and Korea, to members of the FIFA Executive and their families. Guidelines for 2006, welcomed by The Football Association, set out rules of behaviour for bidders, primarily for lobbying during FIFA meetings and tournaments, and put a limit of US$100 on gifts. For the most part, the 2006 campaigns observed the guidelines, except perhaps in the final phase, when the New Zealand representative, sensationally complaining, at the time, of attempted bribery and intolerable pressures, abstained from voting.

  1.6  The pressures upon Executive Committee members and strains upon campaign budgets were both increased by FIFA's arbitrary decision in December 1999 to postpone voting from March to July 2000. No adequate explanation was given, beyond that it would allow time for the five bidders to make presentations to each of the six regional Confederations as well as to the FIFA Executive itself. It is questionable whether this led to a more informed decision. For England, the postponement had a disastrous consequence, perhaps foreseen by some FIFA members, when, 10 days before the vote, English hooligans went on the rampage in the streets of Brussels and Charleroi (see para 9.64).

  1.7   In selecting the venue for the tournament, the "FIFA 24" are aided by the submission by each candidate of a Technical Bid Document, which sets out in very considerable detail how FIFA's Requirements will be met. Also, some months before the decision, a team of inspectors, appointed by the FIFA President, spend a few days in each of the contestants' countries satisfying themselves about how effectively the Requirements will be met and making a relative assessment, on the spot, of the facilities to be offered. In certain key aspects, the England campaign team had cause to question the objectivity of the FIFA inspection report (see para 9.68).

  1.8  FIFA were slow to determine and announce the voting system which would be employed, finally, and fairly, deciding that it would be a secret vote by progressive elimination. While the latter offered scope for tactical voting, it at least ensured that the victor would enjoy the support of the majority of the Executive Committee—even though, in the event, with Germany winning by one vote, only just.

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Prepared 27 March 2001