Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Football Association



February—September 1997: Launching the Campaign

  7.1  England's 2006 World Cup Campaign was formally launched at 10 Downing Street on 11 February, 1997 by the then Prime Minister, John Major. Many of Europe's football leaders attended prior to watching the England v Italy match at Wembley that evening. For the Campaign Director, Alec McGivan, the first priority was to secure wider domestic support, funding and staffing. Following the general election in May, a Labour Government, led by Tony Blair, took office. Support for England's Bid had been a Party manifesto commitment. Many Cabinet Ministers were keen football supporters, as was Tony Blair himself. Tony Banks, the new Minister for Sport, was a vocal Chelsea supporter. Their personal involvement and enthusiasm proved to be a major asset to the Bid and made a deep impression upon the FIFA voters when they came to meet them. All-Party support in Parliament for the Bid was also of great help. Parliamentarians on overseas visits took the opportunity with influential foreign counterparts to promote the Bid. Following the FA Cup Final on 17 April 1997, a dinner was given by the Bid at the House of Commons for Chris Smith, the newly appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. He and Geoff Hurst, who was also present, were to play key roles in England's campaign.

  7.2  The FA Council having approved the Campaign Plan, the small Bid team had by September published its first brochure and was ready to make the first of many presentations to business and local authorities. Unlike the Olympic Games, concentrated in one city, World Cups take place in up to ten venues throughout the host country. It was essential to the campaign, in its Technical Bid Document and during the FIFA inspection, to convince FIFA that local authorities could guarantee satisfactory security, accommodation, media facilities, etc. at each of the tournament venues.

  7.3  Any successful campaign, and especially one that was to last all of three years, depends upon adequate funding. A detailed analysis of expected spend produced an estimate of £9.4 million. The FA having made a commitment to put up a third of this sum, patient negotiation was rewarded by the announcement in September by the Premier League of a contribution of £3.1 million and of a similar sum to be donated by the English Sports Council, now Sport England, drawing on National Lottery funds earmarked for supporting major international sporting events. If England won, the contribution would be repaid to Sport England.

  7.4  During these early months, the Campaign Director was interviewing and selecting the dozen or so full-time staff, who would run the first stage of the campaign. He was looking for young people with professional skills and experience mainly in marketing or public relations and with enthusiasm for football—people committed to the game and the Bid with a "can do" mentality, who would uncomplainingly make the personal sacrifice of working long hours and turning their hand to whatever tasks needed to be done. Following the pattern of Manchester's Olympic bid, The Football Association chose from a number of senior retired diplomats an ex-ambassador, Frank Wheeler, as International Adviser to the Bid and link-man with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its Embassies and High Commissions overseas. For the first eighteen months of the Bid, he and a small staff were housed in the FCO, advising the Campaign Director on the international politics and arranging the programme of campaign visits to and from the FIFA 24. As the campaign progressed, the international staff's role expanded greatly and became central to the Bid. In August 1999 the unit was integrated into the campaign office at Lancaster Gate.


  7.5  By October 1997, with a campaign strategy, political support, funding and staff all assured, the Campaign was ready to turn its attention outwards to the main task of attracting support from the FIFA Executive. Compared with our German rivals, there was much ground to be made up. English football had for a decade or more been on the retreat. The Heysel tragedy and English club football's banishment from the European game had undermined The Football Association's influence and contacts with UEFA and FIFA. England, one of the half dozen major football nations of the world, had no membership of either the UEFA or FIFA Executive Committees. Very few Englishmen served in their Secretariats. Germany had three times as many representatives on UEFA and FIFA committees and panels. Contacts with key figures such as Confederation Presidents and Secretaries-General were sparse. A highly successful EURO '96 tournament in England had begun to restore England's fortunes and reputation, only for them to be severely strained at the beginning of 1997 by the row with Germany and UEFA over the "Gentlemen's Agreement".

  7.6  Now, just as the campaign team was planning to set out on its first lobbying visit overseas, the nemesis of English hooliganism recurred. Bad crowd trouble with English fans at the Italy v England game in Rome on 11 October and the Italian police over-reacting and indiscriminately baton-charging spectators, reminded the football world of the Heysel tragedy and cast doubt on England's ability to host a safe World Cup. It forced the Government to review and strengthen measures to identify potential hooligans and to try to stop them travelling to overseas matches. Even this would not prove enough. Media attention, above all from the domestic press, but mirrored world-wide, was going to keep the FIFA voters alerted to the English disease, though far worse incidents regularly occurred in many other countries.

  7.7  At this early stage of the campaign, England and Germany were the only declared bidders. Rumours abounded that Africa, notably South Africa, and South America, probably Brazil, would enter the race, as might others. England's initial campaign strategy was to concentrate on the FIFA members in Asia, North/Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF) and Oceania, which had no intention of bidding for 2006 and whose FIFA voters were thus not already committed to a regional candidate. Active and influential among these were the CONCACAF President, Jack Warner from Trinidad, and the General Secretary, Chuck Blazer, United States. CONCACAF, with its three FIFA members—the third, Isaac Sasso of Costa Rica—seemed a good place to start the overseas campaign. And so it proved, for these three, after an enormous investment of time and effort and many vicissitudes, were to support England in the first round of voting nearly three years later.

  7.8  On this inaugural lobbying visit, as on many to follow, the team consisted of Sir Bobby Charlton, personifying English football and giving the footballer's perspective, Tony Banks, Minister for Sport, pledging the Government's support for the Bid and tournament and Alec McGivan, Campaign Director, who described the key features of England's Bid. Graham Kelly, Chief Executive, represented The FA. Arrangements for the visits to New York, Trinidad and Costa Rica were made by Frank Wheeler and local Heads of Diplomatic Missions. A pattern began to emerge for these visits of a formal presentation to the FIFA member and his colleagues, using an excellent, promotional video (in the right language) to illustrate England's football heritage and modern stadia and to support the verbal description of the Six Reasons. Formal discussion would be followed by lunch or dinner with the chance to talk casually and to get an initial feel for what mattered to each FIFA member and an intimation of how he might vote. Often the Ambassador or High Commissioner would host a reception to which were invited representatives of local football, government, the media and business. Sir Bobby Charlton would typically give a coaching session for a youth team—a useful photo-opportunity—or support a charity event sponsored by the Embassy, often in a deprived area. A press conference and interviews throughout the visit with selected journalists and television channels ensured a high profile. It was a formula which worked extraordinarily well, when meticulously planned and prepared, smoothly executed and well supported by our diplomatic mission and then followed up with debriefing and intensive contact by letter, fax and telephone with all those with whom the mission had met. On many visits the Bid had to respond to media interest in the critical issue of the day—hooliganism, changes of FA leadership, doubts about the new Wembley Stadium, English teams' participation in FIFA tournaments—problems which arose too frequently for comfort but which the campaign team, through good briefing and tactful responses, usually managed to deflect.

  7.9  Considerably more effort was needed to deal with a self-inflicted crisis with Saudi Arabia which blew up a month later. The campaign team's analysis, together with reporting from our Ambassador in Riyadh, suggested that the Saudi Royal Family and Government would have a considerable and probably determining influence upon how the Saudi representative in FIFA, Abdullah Al-Dabal, would vote. The UK's historically close relations with Saudi Arabia might give us an edge over our rivals. Germany, champions of Europe in 1996, had done its bid no good in refusing an invitation to represent Europe in the FIFA Confederations' Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia in December 1997. In discussions earlier that year, the Saudis had hinted that they might support England's Bid and were pressing hard for a match with England at Wembley, the first ever. Alec McGivan, visiting Riyadh in October to discuss the Saudi-UK Sports Memorandum, brought them the welcome news of an invitation to play against England probably in May 1998. However, a May fixture was subsequently found not to fit in well with the England squad's preparations for the World Cup in France the following month. Other dates, were suggested which found no favour with the Saudis. When in December, Keith Wiseman, the FA Chairman, and Graham Kelly, Chief Executive, and Alec McGivan attended the Confederations' Cup Tournament in Riyadh, Saudi officials made clear their displeasure that The FA had not kept its word. Hopes of Saudi support for 2006 receded fast. It was a vote England could not afford to lose, but equally the Chairman was loath to do anything that might hinder England's preparations for the 1998 World Cup. Urgent meetings in the small hours of the morning in a Riyadh hotel, and telephone conversations with the Minister for Sport in London, convinced The FA that it would have to stick to the date agreed with the Saudis.

  7.10  It was the forerunner of several compromises and sacrifices, which are the unavoidable price of any bid. This time it seemed to be worth it. Shortly afterwards, the Saudi government told the Minister for Sport that they would support England's Bid. (Morocco's emergence as a candidate the next year put paid to this—much effort for ultimately little reward.) Very welcome also was an assurance in December of support from Charles Dempsey, the veteran New Zealand FIFA member. He was later to come under enormous pressure from UEFA, the FIFA President, South Africa and his own government, but remained constant in his support for England. A visitor to London also that month was Isaac Sasso and his wife from Costa Rica, who were exceedingly friendly and appreciative of The FA's visit two months before to their country. The FA's strategy of taking the trouble to visit each FIFA member in his own country appeared to be paying dividends.


  7.11  In January 1998, England 2006 took a stand, as did Germany, at a football exhibition in Singapore. While the value of participating at football exhibitions over the next two years was questionable, England could scarcely afford to leave the field to the Germans and, later, to the South Africans. There was no choice but to do the job properly and efforts went into planning a novel but representative exhibition illustrating the Bid and England's claims to host the World Cup. Of more assured value was the excellent opportunity such events offered to meet football leaders who were present, some speaking at panels and seminars. Sir Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer each fronted their country's bid in Singapore, the beginning of a friendly, if intense rivalry. Beckenbauer was then widely quoted as favouring a joint bid with England. The Germans promptly denied the report, while the England campaign blandly stated that it was not aware of any such proposal. A joint England-German bid was a theme which had some support in The FA, in UEFA and more widely-favoured by those who were concerned about the rift between two of the most powerful football nations, but it never came to anything.

  7.12  Asia being one of the uncommitted regions, a visit to Korea and Thailand was next upon the agenda. On the way, the campaign team spent a few days in Japan where Tony Banks was representing the British Government at the Winter Olympics of February 1998. It was worth talking to the Japanese, who were not only preparing to co-host the 2002 World Cup but who were also a very influential Asian football nation. Japan might at forthcoming elections, displace one of the Asian FIFA members. In Seoul, talks with Dr Chung, President of the Korea FA, son of the founder of the Hyundai empire and an aspirant to the presidency of his country, got off to a slow start. Chung was thought to be indebted to Johansson for UEFA's support of Korea for the 2002 World Cup and would vote for Germany (which he did).

  7.13  Thailand was a much more winnable vote and this first visit marked the beginning of a deepening relationship with the General Secretary of the Thai FA and FIFA member, Worawi Makudi. Concerned about the poor form of the Thai national team, Makudi was keen to recruit a top English coach. The manager or Technical Director chosen by the Thais—Peter Withe of Aston Villa, and England—proved to be a great success. His costs were met in part by the Thai FA and in part from a newly formalised Overseas Development Programme (ODP), under which The Football Association for more than two decades had been providing coaches on contract to foreign national associations as well as running coaching and referee instruction courses at its national training centre at Lilleshall and overseas.

  7.14  On 11 March 1998, the 81 year old Brazilian President of FIFA, Joao Havelange, who had presided over world football for over 24 years, came to London for a meeting at 10 Downing Street with the Prime Minister and senior FA officials. A detailed exchange of views ensued with Tony Blair impressively conducting it in French, setting out England's Six Reasons for wanting to host the World Cup. To England's ears, Havelange's analysis was greatly encouraging. The Asians, CONCACAF and Oceania were likely to support England. He hinted that Brazil should go for 2010 and he would ensure that it was not a runner for 2006. Outside Number 10, Havelange declared to waiting reporters that "England was his personal choice for 2006". His statement, if equal to a goal in the first five minutes, had to be set against assurances of support Havelange was reported to have given to South Africa, if it were to bid. He could doubtless be relied upon to say encouraging things about Germany on his next visit to Bonn. In any case, he would be standing down before FIFA decided upon the venue for 2006.

  7.15  For its part, the Bid team was not planning early exchanges with the eight UEFA representatives on the FIFA Executive. Except for David Will, they could be expected to toe the party line and support Germany with varying degrees of enthusiasm. However, Dr Michel D'Hooghe, the Belgian FA President, hinted that he would be interested in a bid presentation. It was a friendly if insubstantial dialogue, the England team not pressing D'Hooghe for his vote and he refraining from declaring his intentions.


  7.16  Having, as a first priority, seen most of the football leaders in Asia, the CONCACAF region and Oceania, the campaign turned its attention to continents—South America and Africa—which, although not yet having a declared candidate, were expected to enter the race. The bid team was conscious that, while the issue would have to be treated delicately, it would need at a later stage to sound out the South Americans and Africans about "second preference" support for England, in the event that their own candidates were eliminated. A visit to Brazil would scarcely have been tactful or productive at that time, but South America's two other representatives, Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, President of its regional Confederation, CONMEBOL, and Julio Grondona of Argentina, the Senior Vice-President of FIFA, were well worth approaching.

  7.17  Graham Kelly, together with Sir Bobby Charlton, Tony Banks, Alec McGivan and Frank Wheeler made up the team going to Paraguay. The visit to Asuncion coincided with the draw for the South American club championship, allowing the team to get a first glimpse of the colourful South American scene. At a formal meeting with Leoz and his executive at the newly opened and impressive CONMEBOL headquarters, Leoz listened impassively to England's presentation, which, we were then told, would be analysed and discussed by the Executive. Asked to confirm whether South America would be nominating a candidate, Leoz commented that the Latins tended to leave things to the last minute.

  7.18  The visit to Buenos Aires was more eventful and productive. Hugo Porta, Minister for Sport, and South America's most distinguished rugby footballer, made no secret of his support for England. A call upon President Menem, who warmly welcomed the Bid team, found him competing with Sir Bobby Charlton's ball control skills in front of the photographers. Menem declared that England had his personal support, unless Argentina itself was to launch a bid. He welcomed Sir Bobby Charlton's suggestion of a short exchange visit of young Manchester United footballers with Argentine youth players.

  7.19  When the Minister for Sport and the Bid team called at the Argentine Football Association, its President Julio Grondona, said that if FIFA were to choose Europe as the venue for the 2006 World Cup, he and his South American colleagues would support England rather than Germany, which had hosted the tournament more recently in 1974. He did not reveal whether Brazil or other South American countries would bid—there had been rumours of a joint Ecuador/Peru bid. Grondona's position was released to the press. This unexpected public preference for England over Germany was greatly encouraging, even if it was safe to assume that the South Americans would first back a candidate from their own continent, if one were to emerge. Crowning a highly successful visit by the campaign team, which included a memorable match at Boca Juniors before a turbulent crowd, the British Ambassador's lunch at his splendid residence was attended by all who mattered in Argentine football and beyond. Rattin, former captain of Argentina, famously sent off in England's 1966 World Cup match at Wembley, hailed his former adversary, Sir Bobby Charlton, and pledged his support to England's 2006 Bid.

  7.20  March closed with the expected announcement of a decision which was to cause The FA sleepless nights—Sepp Blatter, General Secretary of FIFA, would, with Havelange's backing, oppose Lennart Johansson, President of UEFA, for the vacant FIFA Presidency in June. Havelange had hinted that Blatter would favour England. Johansson had publicly pledged his support to Germany.


  7.21  Two opportunities arose the next month for wider promotion of England's Bid. The FA was host to a seminar for Presidents and General Secretaries of European Union Football Associations and Leagues at Church House, Westminster. 2006 was not on the agenda. It would have been a divisive issue and The FA was wanting to mend fences with Europe. A call on the Prime Minister, who briefed the visitors on England's football facilities, and a Lancaster House dinner gave Keith Wiseman and Alec McGivan the chance to woo an influential European audience. A more public occasion was the Soccerex Exhibition and Seminar in Paris prior to the France World Cup two months later. Gary Lineker, whose other commitments prevented him from fronting the Bid more often, briefed top sports journalists from around the world. Exhibition stands of England and Germany were flanked for the first time by that of South Africa, which had announced its bid. Football gossip ranged from speculation about the outcome of the FIFA Presidency election to plans for a new Wembley Stadium and provocative remarks by Franz Beckenbauer about the so-called Gentlemen's Agreement.

  7.22  Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar was the only Asian FIFA member The FA had yet to visit. Tony Banks, the Sports Minister, led the delegation to Doha from 19-21 April. A typically intensive programme had been laid on by the Ambassador and his staff, including a formal call on HRH The Amir, Ruler of Qatar, talks with Bin Hammam, the Qatar FA and Olympic Committee and a reception given by the Ambassador. Tony Banks and his Qatari counterpart cut the ribbon to open a new sports hall at Dover College. Sir Bobby Charlton, as on so many overseas trips, gave a coaching session to the national youth team. Both the Amir and the Qatari officials reacted warmly to the Bid presentation and video, but were non-committal about their voting intentions. The Amir urged The FA to support Blatter for the FIFA Presidency, which, the team inferred, could lead Qatar to favour England's bid. For its part, the Qatari government hoped that new life could be breathed into a Qatar-UK Sports Memorandum, to which Tony Banks agreed. As in Saudi Arabia, it was clear that the Royal Family and government would strongly influence Qatar's vote. Further government-to-government lobbying, playing up the UK's close historical links with Qatar, would be needed.

  7.23  A few days later, England's Bid sponsored a lunch at the CONCACAF Conference in Antigua in return for which the campaign team was allowed to give a presentation to the 200 Caribbean delegates. In town also, and sponsoring another event, was a strong UEFA delegation, headed by Lennart Johansson—not on 2006 business, but canvassing for support from national football associations for Johansson's FIFA Presidency bid. As always, talks with the CONCACAF President, Jack Warner, and Chuck Blazer produced suggestions on how The FA might help football in the islands as well as informed comment on the contest for 2006. Sepp Blatter was there too, hoping, in a long talk with the bid team, that The FA would support him for the Presidency.

  7.24  A bid dinner at the House of Commons followed the 1998 FA Cup Final on 16 May. As usual, this show-piece of English soccer, attracted football leaders, among them that year Ismail Bhamjee, newly elected FIFA member from Botswana, who, despite his support for South Africa, was an enthusiastic follower of English football and notably Tottenham Hotspur. Also present, prior to an official visit and the England v Saudi Arabia match at Wembley, was HRH Prince Sultan. Preparations by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and The FA had been going on for some weeks to ensure that Prince Faisal, King Fahd's eldest son and President of the Youth and Sports Authority (effectively Sports Minister) and his Deputy, Prince Sultan, would have a successful visit to England. Problems over television rights and tickets for the Wembley match had to be overcome and, with Prince Faisal unable at the last minute to travel, programme arrangements, including calls on government and a Guildhall banquet, had to be changed several times. The Lord Mayor of London, his successor and the City were most helpful to the Bid. The banquet with its State trumpeters could not have failed to make an impression on the Saudi guests of honour. Tony Banks made a typically witty intervention and Sir Bobby Charlton, speaking from the heart about the merits of English Football, entertained the guests. A diplomatic 1-1 Wembley draw ensured there were no hard feelings on the sports field, and England could look forward to getting the Saudi vote.

  7.25  According to UK media articles at that time, Korea, struggling to overcome the Asian financial crisis, would be unable to co-host the 2002 World Cup. Tony Banks was reported to have ordered that contingency plans be drawn up to host the 2002 World Cup in England. Twice the Sports Minister had to send fulsome denials and apologise to Dr Chung, President of the Korean FA and a FIFA member, assuring him that reports were totally unfounded.


  7.26  With the biennial FIFA Congress looming on 8 June, The FA and the Bid were faced with two challenges. The first, and lesser, was how to scotch an amendment to the FIFA Statutes proposed by the Netherlands, no doubt acting on behalf of UEFA. World Cup bidding rules would be changed to allow each Confederation to nominate but one candidate. The Dutch claimed that it would reduce campaign expenditure, but The FA believed that, while the amendment had its virtues, its real purpose was to give UEFA a pretext to exclude England's Bid. Keith Wiseman, in a carefully drafted letter, wrote to all Congress delegates and the FIFA 24 urging them to reject an amendment, which, in proposing two stages of campaigning first at Confederation and then FIFA levels, would defeat its stated purpose. The FA won the day.

  7.27  More divisive was whether The FA should support Johansson, President of England's parent Confederation, UEFA, or Sepp Blatter, who had stood down as FIFA General Secretary, for the FIFA Presidency. It was expected to be a close-run affair. England's natural loyalties were with Johansson, who was campaigning on a greater democracy ticket, was an admirer of English football and had helped its return to European competitions and to host EURO '96 after the wilderness years following the Heysel tragedy. Yet he was an avowed supporter of Germany for 2006, was lobbying hard behind the scenes, and would be the more powerful if elected to the FIFA Presidency. Blatter by contrast, an international civil servant, albeit tarred by the media with Havelange's brush, had publicly supported Africa, specifically South Africa, but who, in the final round of voting, if between England and Germany, would, we believed, support England. Most of England's potential voters for 2006, in our analysis, came from outside Europe, notably in CONCACAF, South America and Asia, who were strong supporters of Blatter. Their possible support for England's Bid was inextricably linked the The FA voting for Blatter. Win or lose, we could expect no favours from Johansson. A vote for Blatter, were he to win, could greatly strengthen England's 2006 prospects. But would Blatter win? Crucially, he appeared to be gaining support among African FAs, even if the Confederation leadership was loyal to Johansson. The Bid team was unanimous in favouring Blatter, a view endorsed by the Sports Minister, who, however, emphasised that it was an FA not government decision. Sentiment in The Football Association generally favoured Johansson and great efforts were made to urge him to take a more impartial and more "Presidential" position on 2006. Such efforts having failed, it was still with some misgivings that the Chairman, Keith Wiseman, and Chief Executive, Graham Kelly, ultimately concluded that The FA should endorse Blatter's candidacy. In the process they may well have lost the confidence of some FA members, who would later press for their resignations. A difficult and high risk decision having been taken, the FA leadership, after telephoning a delighted Blatter, made public their intention—the honest thing to do. Undoubtedly the announcement also encouraged some waiverers, among them leading European football associations, to defy the UEFA whip and vote for Blatter, who won by 111 votes to 80 in the first round, whereupon Johansson conceded victory to his opponent. England's public support for Blatter was widely welcomed around the football world, especially by key figures such as Warner of CONCACAF, Grondona of CONMEBOL and Bin Hammam of Qatar, while, sadly, deepening the sense of grievance felt by Johansson and his close colleagues in UEFA.


  7.28  The France World Cup later in June, in addition to offering opportunities for lobbying FIFA members, could we believed, be instructive to the campaign team in drafting its Technical Bid Document for FIFA. Yet a sense of foreboding about the behaviour of English fans at the event was inescapable. Although FIFA and the Local Organising Committee were rightly criticised by the Sports Minister and The FA over ticket distribution—far too few being allocated to the huge contingent of English supporters—arrangements for the World Cup were generally excellent and the opening and finals were conducted with Parisian panache. A reception given by the British Ambassador in his Paris garden was attended by a grateful Sepp Blatter and other FIFA leaders. As with many tournaments attended by the campaign team, the initial problem was to get enough tickets for the VIP enclosure so as to lobby FIFA members. Lobbying had to be handled in a tactful way, putting across essential messages without alienating the voters by persistent interruption and repetition. England's performance on the pitch, notably an exciting match with Argentina, lost on penalties, was an icebreaker for discussion with FIFA members. More generally, England victories lent credibility to our football and indirectly to our ability to host a World Cup. Gradually the FA lobbying team, Sir Bobby Charlton, Geoff (later Sir Geoff) Hurst, Alec McGivan and Frank Wheeler and, of course, Tony Banks, then Minister for Sport, became accepted and legitimised members of the FIFA circle, familiar also with the FIFA wives and families, who often accompanied the Executive. Friendships began to develop, which helped the campaign and which would survive victory or defeat. Hours of tedious waiting around in hotel lobbies and VIP match enclosures would be relieved by an encouraging exchange with one of the FIFA 24. Much research went into identifying precisely where individual FIFA members would be at any time and ensuring that one of the campaign team was there to talk with them. Constant briefings were given during overseas visits to the English media.

  7.29  Prior to the World Cup, a concerted plan had been made by the Home Office, police, FA and the British Embassy and Consular staff, in conjunction with the French authorities, to identify and turn back convicted trouble makers and keep tabs on potential hooligans. An expected flash-point was Lens, on the Dutch border, where England was to play and where English, German and Dutch hooligans might clash. In the event, it was earlier at Marseilles where serious disturbances broke out. England's match there with Tunisia aroused the passions of the large North African community. English hooligans, many of them without tickets, reacted swiftly and strongly to the taunts of local youths and found plenty of ammunition in countless empty bottles lying in the streets. TV coverage and media reports, beamed around the world, of the rioting and of the arrest and deportation of dozens of hooligans discredited English football just as it undermined our World Cup Bid. The Prime Minister and FA forthrightly condemned the violence. It cut little ice to point out that such disturbances by English fans occurred overseas not at home. Great was the relief among the Bid team upon hearing that Sepp Blatter and other FIFA members, urged by the media to censure the crowd behaviour, deeply regretted it, but added that it would not affect England's 2006 Bid.

  7.30  Soon it was Germany's time to agonise and recriminate following the savage beating to death at Lens of a French policeman by a German fan. The German FA came near to withdrawing its team from the tournament. Both the British and German governments resolved further to tighten controls on known hooligans wishing to attend matches overseas. For their part, the South Africans must have felt that their bid, beset with criticisms about violent crime in Johannesburg, could only gain if FIFA marked the cards of their European rivals.

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