Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Football Association



August—September 1999: Stocktaking and Future Strategy

  9.1  August and early September 1999, with most of the FIFA Executive on holiday, offered little chance for lobbying. Helpful to the Bid, we hoped, was the presence in England that month of the Qatar Under 16 team, playing in the Nordic Tournament, the Cameroon Olympic squad on a training course (they went on to win the Olympic gold medal in Sydney) and the Tunisian national coach. In mid-September, some of the campaign team went to Cairo for a first meeting with the Secretary-General of CAF, the African Football Confederation.

  9.2  A couple of days were then set aside for all of the, by now, twenty-strong campaign staff to spend time together to review progress and consider future strategy. All aspects were examined: for example, publications: the relevance and impact of the "Target" magazine, sent in three different languages to everyone on the Bid's database; the value of "In Brief", a newsletter sent to known supporters of the Bid, and of a new glossy production illustrating England's stadia. With the lobbying team now able to see each FIFA member, on average, every two months, a detailed plan was devised—the Gold List—to ensure that meanwhile they were kept abreast of "good news" stories and to remind them of England's campaign. Much time was spent in analysing the expected voting intentions of each of the 24 members of the FIFA Executive and what arguments and promotional activities could be used to swing them behind England's campaign. Promotional activities would be measured against a yardstick of their relevance and value to the Bid. A detailed calendar for the next year was draw up together with a revised Action Plan. An analysis was made of the strengths and weaknesses of the rival bids, tactics identified to counter "threats" to England's progress and opportunities assessed to put across England's messages. Media relations were always an important issue, encouragement being drawn from "The Sun's" recent declaration of support for England's Bid. Looming on the horizon was the FIFA inspection announced for October. Germany would be inspected first followed immediately by England, Brazil, Morocco and South Africa, enjoying the advantage of more time to prepare, would follow in the New Year. England, with its new slogan of "We are ready and we are right", was in no position to complain.

  9.3  Much had happened over the past twelve months and major obstacles had been overcome, so the Bid team concluded. The Wembley Cup Final programme had proved a triumph. Germany and South Africa had emerged as much more active bidders. England's assessment and forward strategy had changed surprisingly little. England still had only two certain votes—David Will, Scotland and Charles Dempsey, New Zealand. Prospects for securing the three CONCACAF votes had improved, but they had made no commitment. In Asia, the Thailand vote looked to be going our way, Korea appeared to be with Germany. Although Saudi Arabia, to England's disappointment, had announced that it was obliged to support its fellow Arab nation, Morocco, England looked like getting Saudi Arabia's vote if Morocco were eliminated. Qatari intentions were unclear, although the Bid hoped to profit from the close relations between the UK and the Gulf State. The three South Americans looked like backing England, if Brazil were to withdraw or be eliminated. The four CAF members would support either South Africa or Morocco or divide their votes between them. It would be helpful to England and damage South Africa's prospects if their vote were split. The African's enthusiastic reaction to the Cup Final weekend and evident appreciation of England's organising abilities raised hopes that their "second preference" would be for England rather than Germany. Less clear was whether England had achieved a breakthrough in Europe. The Prime Minister's intervention with Lennart Johansson had resulted in the latter's advising European FIFA members that they should vote according to their own conscience, but it still seemed likely that their consciences would lead most of them to vote for Germany. The "awayday" concluded with a plan, which would concentrate on a number of set-pieces—the FIFA inspection of England, invitations to the leaders of the African, South American and North and Central American/Caribbean Confederations each to spend three or four days in England in the Spring, coupled with an innovative approach to presentations to be made at the regional congresses during the first six months of 2000, culminating in the presentation in Zurich to the FIFA 24.


  9.4  Las Vegas was the unlikely venue for the next FIFA Executive Committee meeting. Frank Wheeler and Jason Hughes went to canvass there. According to David Will of Scotland, some Europeans were considering the possibility of Germany and England co-hosting the 2006 World Cup. Rival accounts of the infamous Gentlemen's Agreement were circulating, one in a book by Jarvis Astaire, the former Chairman of Wembley Plc, who supported Johansson's version of events. By contrast, Graham Kelly's memoirs, recently published, stressed that, so far as The FA were concerned, there had been no agreement, nor would it have been right for UEFA officials casually to have "fixed" an agreement, allegedly in the bars of Las Vegas in 1993, thirteen years before the World Cup in question. At FIFA's lunch and meeting, the vexed issue of the voting system for 2006 was aired, with some members suggesting that it should be "first past the post". David Will, primed by the England Bid, made clear that the only fair system would be one that would result in the majority of the FIFA Executive supporting the eventual winner. The FIFA 24 ultimately agreed with this, Blatter pointing out that, in accordance with FIFA statutes, he would have the casting vote, if there were a tie.

  9.5  A week later the Bid team was in Kuala Lumpur, where the Asians were meeting and had invited England to give a presentation to their Executive. The presentation went quite well. A separate meeting was held to talk about FA technical co-operation with the poorer Asian countries. To our surprise, the Germans were also in town giving a press conference and an address to the Executive on football aid. The Germans had apparently heard that England would be there and, at short notice, had decided to follow suite. Apart from the meetings with the Asian FIFA members, Kuala Lumpur proved useful in providing first contact with two of the FIFA inspectors, Al Serkal of the United Arab Emirates and Zhang Jilong of China, who would be in England a fortnight later. A convivial dinner in England's honour was given by the Sultan of Pahang, President of the AFC, at which both he and the AFC General Secretary said encouraging words about England's campaign.

  9.6  Altogether different, was a worrying report relayed from London of a meeting in Downing Street between the Prime Minister and the visiting Amir of Qatar. Asked by Tony Blair to use his influence in support of England's Bid, the Amir replied that he had given his word to the Germans some months before. Bin Hammam, the Qatari FIFA member, also in Kuala Lumpur, upon being told this, appeared unaware of the Amir's pledge and somewhat embarrassed. After ringing home, Bin Hammam confirmed that the report of the Downing Street conversation was indeed correct, although South Africa might also be in the frame—a serious blow for England.


  9.7  Although The FA was confident that the FIFA inspectors would give England good marks, an enormous preparatory effort was underway, not only in London, but in provincial cities where World Cup matches would be held and which were to be visited by the inspectors. Headed by Alan Rothenberg, now well known to the Bid team. FIFA's team included Al Serkal of the UAE, Zhang Jilong from China, Walter Sieber of Canada, a stadia specialist, Dick Read of Australia, a media expert, and Urs Kneubuhler of the FIFA Secretariat. Having spent four exhausting days in Germany, the inspectors arrived at Heathrow on 21 October, greeted on the BA flight by a message of welcome from Lord Marshall. Motor cycle police escorts had been arranged throughout the visit and their efficiency clearly impressed the visitors as well as ensuring that the tight schedule was met. A wealth of written material had been provided in support of the oral briefings, which were to follow. Starting with a meeting at The Football Association itself, the inspectors were taken on the Nationwide England team coach to Millbank for a presentation of England's Bid by Sir Bobby Charlton and Alec McGivan. Upon arrival, six children greeted the visitors, symbolising England's Welcome to the World initiative. There followed a meeting at Downing Street with the Prime Minister, attended by Kate Hoey, the new Sports Minister. Both confirmed the British Government's commitment to the Bid and to implement guarantees which the Government had given, concerning a whole range of issues, such as security and taxation, if the World Cup were held in England. Dr Mowlam was host that evening at a dinner at No. 1 Carlton Gardens, the Foreign Secretary's official residence. Mo Mowlam's characteristically forthright remarks, together with speeches by Lord Marshall and Kevin Keegan, seemed to go down well with the inspectors, who met key people in sport, business and football as well as government.

  9.8  A breakfast meeting the next day with the Home Secretary, supported by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Sir Brian Hayes, police adviser to The FA, addressed head-on issues of security, policing and hooliganism, which must have been in the visitors' minds. Three helicopters of the Royal Squadron then landed the inspectors on the turf of Wembley Stadium. An authoritative account was given on crowd control and, after a tour of the ground, the inspectors were taken by taxis, bearing the 2006 logo, to other parts of the ground. In the dressing rooms they were presented with a model of the existing stadium and as they entered the pitch from the tunnel, the Wembley roar greeted them over the tannoy.

  9.9  Next was a brief visit to Buckingham Palace, after which the group walked over to St James's Palace to spend half an hour with HRH The Prince of Wales. Some of the visitors had previously met him at Highgrove six months before and afterwards, they commented upon how impressed they had been with his easy manner, knowledge of their countries and interest in football. At the BBC, the FIFA party were met by the incoming Director-General, Greg Dyke, together with senior representatives of the other television channels, all of which would be playing a major part in televising a World Cup, and on then to the offices of Lord Foster for a presentation by Ken Bates and Lord Foster on the new Wembley. At dinner that evening, the inspectors met members of England's 1966 World Cup squad.

  9.10  Saturday—Day 3—began with a visit to the QE2 Conference Centre, which would be a potential venue for a FIFA Congress, held in conjunction with the World Cup. At Chelsea, prior to their match with Arsenal, Ken Bates and Lord Attenborough received the visitors and explained their plans for the redevelopment of the Chelsea ground. On the Sunday, an aircraft of the Queen's Flight took the party northwards to Birmingham, and then by helicopter to Villa Park. Arrangements were meticulously handled just as they were at Pride Park, Derby, the next venue. Here, around 2,000 cheering local school children greeted the visitors at the main entrance. Importantly, the FIFA inspectors met key representatives of the local authority and then afterwards the Derby County players, and then on to Sunderland, whose "Stadium of Light" exemplified the "stadium revolution" which had followed the Hillsborough disaster.

  9.11  On the Monday, the inspecting party went to Anfield for a tour of Liverpool's ground and Football Academy and enjoyed discussions with club officials and the local authorities. A similarly searching examination and discussion then followed at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. Upon their return to London, the inspectors attended a banquet at Hampton Court Palace at which, in addition to the usual speeches, Hugh Grant made an entertaining contribution. The good and great of English football were there along with leading politicians (from all parties), businessmen and journalists. It was important that they were engaged in the Bid and that the FIFA inspectors should note their interest and commitment. In his closing press conference, Alan Rothenberg had nothing but praise for the arrangements that had been made and for England's facilities. Some relatively straightforward queries were raised during the visit as to whether all of England's football grounds met FIFA's space requirements but shortly afterwards the Bid team, together with the Government, faced a demanding task in getting the hotel trade to give FIFA a guarantee of hotel bed provision, which met FIFA's exigent requirements.


  9.12  At the end of October, UEFA announced their decision that Portugal had been successful in its bid to host the next European Cup Tournament, having defeated Spain and a joint bid by Austria and Hungary. The wire services reported Villar, President of the Royal Spanish Federation and a FIFA member, as outraged by the decision. He felt betrayed by UEFA and the German Chairman of the selection committee. A week later, Sir Bobby Charlton and Frank Wheeler went to Madrid to see whether Villar's anger at UEFA might translate into a vote for England. Villar was clearly shocked at Spain's defeat, having, he said, received assurances from members of UEFA's Organising Committee that Spain was their choice. In opting for Portugal, UEFA had changed the basic criterion, Villar said. They had not chosen the best bid but one that offered scope for football development: hence Villar's public comment that logically UEFA ought to support South Africa for 2006. Sir Bobby Charlton compared UEFA's treatment of Spain with the UEFA's dealings with England over the Gentlemen's Agreement, which threatened to undermine England's 2006 prospects. Villar, readily seeing the point, implied that while he supported Germany's bid, things could change before July, given UEFA's unwelcome decision on the European tournament. Fortune seemed to have played into England's hands.

  9.13  A couple of days later Tony Banks, Sir Geoff Hurst and Alec McGivan were on their way to Saudi Arabia. The morning began with visits to the Saudi Olympic stadium, sports medicine clinic and The King Fahd Cultural Centre and Stadium. With Prince Sultan, the Saudi Sports Minister, Tony Banks said that England well understood Saudi Arabia's wish to support, Morocco, a fellow Arab country, in the first round of voting. He nonetheless hoped that, if Morocco's bid did not succeed, Saudi Arabia would support England. Prince Sultan gave Banks a personal and positive commitment to talk to King Fahd and to the Crown Prince with a view to seeking their agreement to this.

  9.14  The next day, the FA party paid a fourth visit to Qatar. HRH The Duke of York was there on an official tour and opened the British Council Football Nation Exhibition. This mobile exhibition was borne out of a recognition by the British Council that sport is an undervalued asset in British diplomacy. Britain, the originator of so many sports, exported by her armed forces, businessmen, colonial administrators and others, had a proud heritage and her name was synonymous with the concept of fair play. It was an advantage to be exploited. Moreover, sport was a means by which the British Council could reach parts of society overseas otherwise difficult to access, for example, students, who might wish to know more about, or even study in, the UK. With the appointment of a Sports Consultant, on loan from the then UK Sports Council, the British Council had devised a plan to mount a mobile exhibition displaying both British football history and the modern game, notably the new stadia which had been constructed in the past decade. It would be good for Britain's profile, would help England's 2006 Bid by underpinning several of the "Six Reasons", while publicising British stadium design and promoting the export of stadium equipment and services.

  9.15  England's 2006 Bid was glad to be a founder sponsor of the exhibition along with the British Council, which had contributed its own money and skilled manpower. Additional funding had been raised from British Trade International and commercial companies, among others. In Qatar, Prince Andrew opened the exhibition in the main shopping mall, which was to be visited by thousands of Qataris. Media interest was intense. Calls were made the next day by The FA team and Tony Banks on the Qatar Sports Ministry and Football Association. A call on the Amir had again not proved possible. In discussions with Mohammed Bin Hammam, the Qatar FIFA member, Tony Banks reminded him that the Amir had pressed The Football Association to support Sepp Blatter for the FIFA Presidency. This The FA had done at high cost to its relations with UEFA. It was very disappointing that Qatar should be supporting Germany. In a friendly conversation, Bin Hammam could offer no hope that the Amir would change his mind but urged us to persevere with our Bid.

  9.16  In mid-November, the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting took place in Durban, South Africa, in the presence of HM The Queen and the Prime Minister and British Cabinet Ministers. It was decided not to attend, as the England Bid was unlikely to be allowed to address Commonwealth leaders, although we were conscious that the South Africans on their home territory might lobby in some way.

  9.17  After months of deliberation, The FA appointed at that time a new Chief Executive, Adam Crozier, formally Joint Chief Executive of Saatchi and Saatchi, in which job he had already been helpful to the Bid. One of the first tasks he would have to deal with was a further row about plans for the new Wembley Stadium. The Sports Minister, Kate Hoey, was calling for an independent report into the design for the stadium, concerned that capacity would not be sufficient for both athletics and football and could jeopardise a future Olympic bid. Meanwhile, England fans were more concerned with their country making it to the finals in Belgium and Holland the next summer of the EURO 2000 Tournament. After unconvincing performances by England and Scotland in earlier rounds, they were drawn to play each other, only one going through to the finals. England won its away match in Glasgow, where crowd trouble outside the ground added to the 2006 team's worries. At Wembley on 17 November, England lost, but nonetheless qualified for the finals. Importantly, English supporters behaved well.


  9.18  Even before its launch in February 1997, the albatross of the Gentlemen's Agreement had hung over the England Bid. UEFA had already made one attempt at the FIFA Congress in June 1998 indirectly to eliminate England's Bid, but on the whole now seemed reconciled publicly to there being two serious European rivals. Behind the scenes, however, UEFA's leaders and the German bid team were telling other FIFA members that England had behaved dishonourably in reneging upon an agreement with its parent Confederation. While non-European FIFA members tended to view this as a problem for Europe to sort out, some of them nonetheless felt that England's Bid was weakened by its not having the support of its own Confederation. They must have asked themselves whether they, in turn, should favour a bid which England's parent Confederation had disowned. The issue had gained further currency with the circulation among FIFA members the previous month in Las Vegas of the conflicting memoirs of Jarvis Astaire and Graham Kelly. Sir Bert Millichip, former Chairman of The Football Association, who was alleged to have done the deal and who had been attacked by sections of the press, had maintained a long, dignified silence. However, perhaps recognising that the problem was not going to go away and would probably get worse, he issued a statement on 16 November, setting the record straight (see Appendix 7[10]). In this, he forthrightly declared that there was not and there could not have been a Gentlemen's Agreement under which England pledged support for Germany as the European candidate for 2006. Sir Bert had no authority from The Football Association to make such a deal. It was true, he said, that, after discussions with UEFA, England withdrew its Bid for the World Cup of 1998 to concentrate on securing EURO '96, and Germany subsequently announced a bid for 2006. Germany's declaration of interest did not mean that Germany had been recognised as UEFA's candidate or that other bidders, such as England, would not or could not enter the race. The time had come, Sir Bert concluded, for this matter finally to be laid to rest.

  9.19  When published in the British press, his statement did not attract great attention. Within FIFA, where texts were shortly circulated, it drew an instant rejection from Lennart Johansson, but other FIFA members, some in Europe, but particularly outside, accepted that there had been, in effect, a "Gentlemen's Misunderstanding". While the issue was not of great importance to them, criticisms that England had behaved dishonourably, some now commented, were misplaced. UEFA made no formal comment on the Millichip statement, but it became clearer over time that at least those UEFA officials who were present in Las Vegas in 1993, when the bargain was allegedly struck, remained convinced that a deal had been done, however irregular that might have been.


  9.20  England's Bid team was conscious that during the final few months they needed to be where the action was and that was where the FIFA Executive were to be found. It would entail spending nearly a month away from home in Thailand, New Zealand and Tokyo, with Bobby Charlton also going briefly to Korea. In Thailand, The FA spent more time with Worawi Makudi, Tony Banks delivered a message from Tony Blair urging the Thai Prime Minister to use his influence in pledging Thailand's vote to England. Sir Bobby Charlton had become patron of a street children's football contest organised by the Governor of Bangkok, for which he had donated a trophy and medals. Sir Bobby was also the guest of honour at the annual charity garden party held in the spacious grounds of the Ambassador's residence in Bangkok.

  9.21  In New Zealand for the finals of the Under 17 FIFA World Championship, the team were to have many meetings with FIFA members there, including Sepp Blatter. Tony Banks had a friendly meeting with Joe Mifsud of Malta, who was delighted with the prospect of England playing a game against Malta as part of the Malta FA's Centenary celebrations the next summer. The usual press conference got good coverage in the New Zealand papers, as did the video of England's Welcome to the World. The Germans, but not the South Africans, attended a reception put on for the Bid by the British High Commissioner. In talks with Johansson about the Millichip statement, the UEFA President confirmed that European FIFA members were free to vote as they thought fit. The England Bid Team was content with this formula. An attempt to force the issue in the UEFA Executive would most likely result in a formal decision to support Germany and a demand that England should stand down. This way, England had a chance of detaching two or three European voters.


  9.22  In Tokyo, Manchester United had just played in the finals of the Toyota Cup and Sir Bobby Charlton took a day off to go to Korea for talks and golf with Dr Chung, only to find that Franz Beckenbauer was in the party. The atmosphere was full of good humour, but no business was done. Meeting in Tokyo, the FIFA Executive confirmed the adoption of the progressive elimination voting system for 2006. England's meetings with the Africans, still talking about the Cup Final weekend, were warm and encouraging. It looked as though they were moving towards second preference support for England. Similarly, Grondona of Argentina confirmed South American second preference support for England. Details of forthcoming visits to England in the Spring were discussed with the Africans, South Americans and some other FIFA members. At the World Cup draw itself, a cry of dismay went round the room at England and Germany being placed yet again in the same group. Sir Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer, sitting next to each other, commiserated. Further bad news reached the Bid Team in Tokyo from London where the Minister for Sport and the British Olympic Association were still contending that plans for the new Wembley provided insufficient capacity for athletics and would undermine a future British Olympic Games bid. Chris Smith, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, gave the feuding parties two weeks to come up with a solution. The Japanese English-language newspapers led with the story, while British journalists there pressed the Bid Team for their reaction and sought to get quotable comments from FIFA members.

  9.23  In Brussels a week later, the inevitable recurred: England was drawn in the same qualifying group as Germany for the EURO 2000 Tournament. A short time later, Tony Banks spent a day in New York with Chuck Blazer, the United States FIFA member. Tony Banks inferred from Blazer's analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the bids that England's campaign was doing well. Although Blazer had his own agenda, the relationship which Tony Banks and Jason Hughes of the Bid had built up with him over two years encouraged Blazer to share his thinking with us and it proved crucial in the final phase. To reinforce this, various "friends of the Bid" such as Adam Crozier, when with Saatchi and Saatchi, had kept regularly in touch with Blazer and passed messages in both directions.


  9.24  Refreshed by the Christmas and New Year break, the Bid Team set off for Brazil in early January for the World Club Championships in which Manchester United had already started playing. Clubs having to travel long distances and unused to the heat found the late afternoon matches in Rio and Sao Paulo an ordeal. Manchester United drew their first match with Necaxa, the Mexican champions, but after a couple of poor performances were eliminated. Real Madrid, the other European qualifier, survived until the next round. It was a tribute to the strength of Brazilian football that the teams disputing the final—Palmeiras and Corinthians—came from the host country, but it did little to promote this inaugural championship as a world event, television coverage falling away as the Europeans were eliminated. After some early difficulties, Manchester United won much praise for their sponsorship with FIFA of an event for UNICEF, and the British Ambassador and Manchester United put on a well-attended reception at the leading hotel. Sepp Blatter was there and obviously enjoyed talking with the players. For the bid, it was a great relief that Manchester United had participated in the tournament. Blazer said publicly that "England has demonstrated itself to be a good world citizen" while Warner declared that "England has shown itself sensitive to the world game".


  9.25  After a further visit to Saudi Arabia, where Sir Geoff Hurst attended the opening by the Saudi Sports Minister of the British Council Football Nation Exhibition, a large England bid team travelled out to Accra for the first of six Confederation Congresses. The Brazilians did not show up. England's presentation was carefully tailored to its largely African audience. Hours of writing and re-writing of the script and matching pictures to it and cutting and slicing videos, including one with a message from Tony Blair, had occupied for some people much of the Christmas period. Of equal concern were the technical arrangements in Accra. England, taking no chances, travelled with their own technician and equipment. Their prudence was justified: Franz Beckenbauer leading off for the Germans, was plunged into darkness and had to ad lib for the first five of Germany's fifteen minute allocation. England put on a highly professional show, but the winner, on points, was probably South Africa for whom Danny Jordaan, made an impassioned plea for FIFA to recognise that it was "Africa's turn". The conference hotel, outside and within, was branded with the South African logo, to which FIFA turned a blind eye. The rival bids competed with each other to get their promotional literature to the people who mattered.

  9.26  In London a couple of days later Worawi Makudi of Thailand arrived. He and his agent were trying to get The FA to commit itself to an England match with Thailand in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup. He then went north for talks with Manchester United whose marketing ventures in South East Asia were just getting off the ground. Makudi was hopeful also of obtaining help in opening a Thai football school in Manchester. Meanwhile, Kevin Keegan, the England coach, was in Trinidad and Tobago speaking at a seminar and meeting of CONCACAF leaders.


  9.27  Alec McGivan spent a day in Zurich, making a presentation to ISL, FIFA's marketing agency. The commercial side of a World Cup would be of particular importance. Then, led by Sir Bobby Charlton and Tony Banks, the campaign team set off on the long journey to Paraguay for the South American Congress on 12 February, at which the bidders would again be making World Cup presentations. England had hastily to re-tailor its material to a very different audience and draw some of the lessons learned from the first congress in Accra. This time Brazil participated. The England team felt satisfied with their well-rehearsed presentation, which, in its different way, was as good as South Africa's. BSkyB were there with a camera team following England's progress and commenting on the rival campaigns.

  9.28  Talks with the South Americans were to be of particular importance. Leoz, the CONMEBOL President, caught England off-guard. Lamenting the bad blood between England and Germany, he wondered whether the two countries might not co-host the 2006 World Cup. If so, South America would thereafter favour rotation by region and World Cups every three years. The same theme was taken up by Grondona, Argentina, who urged England to consider this package. At The FA's request, Havelange, the former President of FIFA spent half an hour with the Bid Team. In contrast to the rosy forecast he had given the British Prime Minister in London nearly two years before, Havelange made a chilling analysis of England's chances. England was sundered by the Gentlemen's Agreement and differences with Europe and by its failure to have representation on either the UEFA or FIFA Executives and to punch its weight in world football. On his reckoning, in the first round of voting, Germany would get eight votes, Brazil six, South Africa four, Morocco two and England two (equals 22 out of the 24 votes). Tony Banks and Sir Bobby Charlton hotly contested Havelange's thesis about the Gentlemen's Agreement and disagreed roundly with his conclusions.


  9.29  Meetings, tournaments and visits were now coming up very fast and the Bid Team had to divide forces adequately to cover them all. Sir Geoff Hurst went to Thailand for three days to see Worawi Makudi and to talk to the Thai government. The same weekend there arrived in England Julio Grondona of Argentina with his Vice-President and Hugo Porta, the former Argentine Sports Minister. They were accompanying the Argentine team which was to play England at Wembley the following Wednesday. Our tactics were to show Grondona and his colleagues all we could of the English football scene and leave until the end of the visit private conversation about the Bid. This worked out reasonably well, although it did not stop Grondona, on the many car rides, asking very direct questions such as "just how many votes do you have"? Grondona's programme began with a first meeting at The Football Association, where small gifts were exchanged and photographs taken; and then on to the Premier League offices for a presentation, led by Alec McGivan, of England's Bid. The Rt Hon Ann Taylor, Chief Whip, escorted the Argentines around the House of Commons and was host at lunch in the Strangers' Dining Room; and then, by helicopter to the Arsenal training ground, north of London, where the Argentine team were hard at work. Grondona seemed impressed with the Arsenal academy and facilities there. In the evening, the Minister for Sport, Kate Hoey, was host at a Government dinner at Lancaster House. Tuesday, the second full day, was spent with the Argentine team at the Arsenal training ground and then at Sopwell House where the teams were staying. In the evening, the party went to Craven Cottage for the Under 21 match with Argentina and were well looked after by Fulham FC. Wednesday saw a visit to the Thames-side offices of Lord Foster for a presentation on the new Wembley and to see models of it and a further meeting at The FA followed by luncheon at a nearby hotel. In the evening, the party left for Wembley, where they attended the Chairman's reception. England's friendly match with Argentina rather lacked the excitement of their last encounter in France at the World Cup. Grondona went to the Argentine dressing room afterwards to see his team. On the Thursday, the Chairman of The FA made a formal farewell before Grondona sat down with Alec McGivan and Frank Wheeler for a quiet chat about the Bid.

  9.30  A fortnight before in Paraguay, Leoz and Grondona had floated the idea of England and Germany co-hosting the 2006 World Cup, with subsequent World Cups being held in rotation at three year intervals. A joint bid with Germany had always been a possibility that the Bid team kept in mind. It was not an attractive proposition given the keen rivalry between the two countries and national teams. The media, political and public reaction to such a proposal could well be hostile, certainly without very careful preparation. Furthermore, each country was eminently capable of hosting a World Cup by itself; and FIFA, pending a successful outcome to the 2004 World Cup in Japan/Korea was opposed to co-hosting. For the England Bid team, it was a last resort, to be contemplated only if we were sure England could not win on its own and a joint bid would be successful. The arithmetic suggested that a joint England/German bid would fail. The Africans, North and Central America/Caribbean and South Americans and most of the Asians were thought to be hostile to it, as well as Blatter. However, if the South Americans were now genuinely in favour of co-hosting, their three votes, plus eight from Europe and Charles Dempsey's, plus probably Chung of Korea, would give a majority. If FIFA were institutionally opposed to joint bidding, that same majority could drive the proposal through the Executive Committee. Even so, there was little enthusiasm for the idea and McGivan did not raise it with Grondona, who, in turn, possibly after discussions with Blatter and Johansson, seemed no longer to be pursuing it with any vigour. He restated CONMEBOL's preference for England over Germany and was dismissive of the other bids. His visit seemed, from an England viewpoint, to have had a successful conclusion.


  9.31  Alec McGivan, together with Sir Bobby Charlton then got the next plane to Los Angeles for the opening match of the CONCACAF regional tournament—the Gold Cup. They had to return very soon for the large Football Expo in Cannes at which the competing campaign teams were trying to score points off each other. England's exhibit highlighted its theme of youth. Sir Bobby Charlton made a bullish speech at the England reception, which seemed to go down well. England's Bid felt itself to be on a high at that moment. The Los Angeles Times had recently identified England as the favourite. Blatter had been more even-handed in his approach and, after some prompting, had publicly commended the England Bid when he was in the country briefly that month for a meeting of the FIFA International Board, which sets the rules of the game. A poll conducted by Reuters of sports journalists also had England emerging as the favourite.

  9.32  Meanwhile Tony Banks was asked at short notice to go to Trinidad where HRH The Prince of Wales was paying an official visit. He ensured that at the High Commissioner's reception, Jack Warner and his guests were introduced to Prince Charles, who remembered him from his visit to Highgrove. Tony Banks had encouraging news from Warner that Rothenberg, head of the FIFA inspection team, apparently viewed England well.


  9.33  At the turn of the month Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana passed through London again. While committed to voting for South Africa, he was concerned that the African vote would be split as Morocco continued to gain strength within Africa and appeared to have the votes of Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. For his part, he made clear his personal support for England if both African candidates were eliminated. Bhamjee confirmed that there was no CAF-UEFA agreement under which the Africans would support a UEFA candidate, Germany, if their own candidates were eliminated. It was up to England to work upon the other three Africans to try to win their second preference support. Their visit, now planned for May, would be the best opportunity.

  9.34  On 7 March Sir Geoff Hurst, accompanied by Frank Wheeler, flew to Korea for a meeting with Dr Chung. It was a friendly but formal affair, Chung making it clear that he regarded his voting intentions as secret. Sir Geoff Hurst flew on to Hong Kong to see The Football Association there.

  9.35  A second visit to Tunisia was now pressing. In a meeting on 9 March with the new President of the Tunisian Football Confederation, The FA emphasised its long-term commitment to help with football development in Tunisia, the Tunisians identifying coaching and youth work as among their priorities. Following a dinner at the British Ambassador's, at which Slim Aloulou, the Tunisian FIFA member was present, the latter gave a return dinner the following evening. He intimated that, irrespective of their first preference—South Africa or Morocco—the Africans had not got around to discussing second preference support. Aloulou did not seem to be leaning towards Germany, but suggested that England needed again to address the issue of the Gentlemen's Agreement.


  9.36  Given the importance of the three South American votes, a visit to England the next week, at the invitation of The FA, of Dr Nicolas Leoz, President of CONMEBOL, accompanied by his wife and the Vice-President, needed careful preparation and handling. Owing to a major operation, he had not attended the Cup Final the previous year and had seen little, if any, football in England. The programme arranged for him, following an established pattern, included a match—Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur—tours of Stamford Bridge and Wembley, a presentation of England's Bid and plans for the new Wembley. Tony Banks hosted a Government dinner at Lancaster House and met Dr Leoz the following day, who enjoyed a tour of the House of Commons and lunch there. As with Grondona, discussion of the Bid was left until the end, when McGivan and Wheeler tackled him privately. Leoz said that he did not believe he could yet speak on behalf of CONMEBOL, whose vote would be one of conscience, as he found it difficult to talk to the Brazilians about second preference voting without appearing to show a personal lack of confidence in Brazil's bid. He reverted to the ideas he had floated in Asuncion for a three year cycle of World Cups with fixed rotation among the Confederations. He was going to pursue this further with Blatter and with Johansson. He confirmed that, if England and Germany were in the final round of voting, CONMEBOL would support England.

  9.37  The England Bid Team was interested to get the reaction of a visitor to London, Zhang Jilong, one of the FIFA inspectors who had just returned from inspections of Morocco and South Africa. African prospects had been dealt a blow by the poor organisation of the African Cup of Nations in Nigeria and Ghana, with pitch invasions and street riots. However, while the FIFA inspectors seemed to have concluded that Morocco's bid was based on promises, which might not be fulfilled, they appeared mightily impressed with South Africa, where every effort had been made to show to them football at its best. A full stadium, untypical in South Africa, watched the match attended by the inspectors and they were feted by the South African government and by ex-President Mandela. Critical issues of political and economic stability and, above all, violent crime seemed to have evaporated amid all the euphoria, leaving the England Bid Team to wonder about the objectivity of the inspection process, already being derided by some FIFA members as superfluous.

  9.38  Geoff Thompson, the new Chairman of The FA went to Trinidad to witness a seminar on strengthening administrative structures, put on under the Overseas Development Programme of The FA and to see England Under 17 team play in a rain-affected tournament. Jack Warner, President of CONCACAF, appeared delighted with The FA's commitment to help develop football in the Caribbean and spoke with qualified enthusiasm of England's 2006 Bid. March ended with a visit by Sir Bobby Charlton to Montevideo for the centenary celebrations of the Uruguay FA. Franz Beckenbauer was there too, competing for the attention of the South American and other FIFA members present.


  9.39  Charles Dempsey, President of the Oceania Football Confederation, had invited the campaign team to make a presentation to the OFC Executive in Auckland on 6 April. While confident of Dempsey's vote, the Bid Team thought that a lobbying visit to some of the Pacific islands could help strengthen his stand in supporting England within his Confederation. On his way to Auckland, Sir Geoff Hurst called on the football authorities in Tonga and Vanuatu. Such a celebrity visit and the interest he displayed in Pacific region football generated much goodwill and support for the Bid, as did Sir Geoff's presentation to the OFC Executive Committee.

  9.40  Prior to a match between Real Madrid and Manchester United, Sir Bobby Charlton spent an evening in Madrid where he appeared on the main television sports programme and was guest of honour at a dinner given by the British Ambassador to which was also invited Villar, the Spanish Football President and FIFA member. The latter still seemed to be toeing the UEFA line.


  9.41  While wanting to have good relations with the other Europeans, The FA was becoming increasingly frustrated by the uneven and unfair treatment meted out by UEFA to England's 2006 Bid. UEFA's formal position, as confirmed at a meeting of their Executive in February 2000, was that "European members of the FIFA Executive would vote as they personally thought correct". Yet despite this, the UEFA President was publicly and privately backing Germany, displaying none of the even-handedness which Hayatou, the African President, was showing when faced with two bids from his confederation. After much discussion involving Tony Banks also, the FA resolved to confront the issue and UEFA and asked for a meeting, upon David Will's advice, with their Presidential Board.

  9.42  A strong FA delegation, led by Geoff Thompson and the new Chief Executive, Adam Crozier went to UEFA with Sir Bobby Charlton, Tony Banks, David Davies, Alec McGivan and Frank Wheeler. David Will was also there. Johansson was flanked by Matarrese (Italy), Omdal (Norway), Erzik (Turkey), Braun (Germany) and Aigner, the German Secretary-General. Geoff Thompson began by saying that The FA wanted to put past disagreements behind them and to build a new partnership with UEFA. He asked whether UEFA would welcome the success of a European candidate for 2006, be it Germany or England. Johansson confirmed that UEFA would. The Chairman then asked whether, in the event that Germany were no longer in the contest, England could count upon UEFA's wholehearted support. The President again said "yes". Geoff Thompson then assured UEFA that England had no difficulty with European FIFA members voting for Germany, but England did object to UEFA formally promoting the German bid, at England's expense. Johansson took issue with this, but confirmed that EUFA's position was that European FIFA representatives were free to vote according to their own consciences. He would not dream of giving them orders on how to vote. After a heated intervention by Braun, Geoff Thompson asked that UEFA should publicly state that there were two strong European bids, that it was EUFA's wish that the 2006 tournament be held in Europe and that European FIFA members were free to vote as they thought fit. Johansson seemed to balk at the final phrase, and indeed, when UEFA that evening issued a press statement it was brevity itself, acknowledging merely the FA's view that Germany and England were two outstanding candidates and the UEFA wanted Europe to be the chosen venue for 2006. The visit to UEFA Headquarters had helped to clear the air, but had failed in its objective of getting the UEFA leadership to adopt a neutral position and to stop backing Germany. Pressure upon the European FIFA voters (David Will of Scotland apart) to vote for Germany would be increased. Relations within Europe were not improved by a brawl between Leeds United supporters and those of Galatasaray in Istanbul around that time, resulting in the stabbing to death of two Leeds supporters.


  9.43  For England's campaign team, securing votes outside of Europe was, however, the main concern. A crucial visit was looming, that of Jack Warner and Isaac Sasso of CONCACAF. Upon arrival, they flew to Old Trafford for the Manchester United v Chelsea match and then on to Sunderland to see the new stadium. A Government reception and dinner were hosted by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at the Tower of London. Helicopters took the party to Wembley Stadium and to see the plans of the new Wembley. The Sassos stayed on a further evening as welcome guests of The FA. The warm relations established between the Chairman and Jack Warner in Trinidad and their agreement on the evident value of The FA's Overseas Development Programme, resulted in the signing and issue, during Warner's visit, of a Declaration of Intent under which The FA, over a five year period, would extend further help with the development of football in the Caribbean and Central America. As to 2006, Warner made no commitment, but confirmed that CONCACAF would vote as a bloc and would take a decision in May upon which candidate to support. Other visitors to England that month were Charles Dempsey of New Zealand and Sepp Blatter, the FIFA President, who came for the Professional Footballers' Association dinner.

  9.44  To maximise goodwill in preparation for the crucial CONCACAF Congress the following month, Sir Geoff Hurst and a bid team visited four Caribbean islands—Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and St Kitts and Nevis—to talk about England's Bid. Football leaders there were greatly appreciative of Sir Geoff's visit, but made plain their needs for developmental help.


  9.45  With little more than two months to go until FIFA's decision, May was going to prove even busier with major visits by the Africans and Brazilians, The FA Cup Final and the Bid Team having to travel to put on presentations at the three congresses of Africa, Asia and Oceania. Preparations for all these events, which had to be got exactly right, together with arrangements for wives' programmes and meticulous briefing and debriefing would have the Bid Team working around the clock and every weekend until 6 July. Media interest had increased greatly and much of the Campaign Director's time and that of his media adviser, Roger Kelly, was taken up in answering questions about England's progress or about some real or imagined crisis. News of minor successes or failures or hints that a FIFA member would or would not vote for England got magnified out of proportion. In such a competitive atmosphere, with the South Africans even coming to Scotland to seek David Will's vote in the event of England's elimination, the Campaign Director had to keep his nerve while maintaining the morale of his team. British Ambassadors overseas were again asked to reinforce the Bid's efforts and Sir Christopher Meyer, our Ambassador in Washington, went to New York to lobby Chuck Blazer.

  9.46  The visit of the African Football Confederation (CAF)—Hayatou (Cameroon), Bhamjee (Botswana), Diakite (Mali) and Aloulou (Tunisia) was another logistical challenge for the Bid. While the latter had some arguments they could deploy with the Africans, England's case with them relied primarily upon the intrinsic merits of the Bid—the Six Reasons—and whether the Africans would be sufficiently impressed with England's stadia, organisation and enthusiasm to stage a World Cup. The Africans began with a visit to Chelsea Football Club, followed in the afternoon by a welcome meeting at The Football Association. Their programme continued with a presentation of England's Bid and a tour of the Houses of Parliament and lunch hosted by the Chief Whip. After lunch, the four went by helicopter to Wembley Stadium and then back to Lord Foster's office to see plans of the new Wembley. Day Three saw the party flying to Newcastle and on to Sunderland to see the Stadium of Light and then back to London for a reception and dinner at The Tower of London, hosted by the Prime Minister's Special Envoy. Saturday offered Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford with a lunch hosted by Sir Bobby Charlton, before returning to London and an official farewell from the Chairman.

  9.47  England's tactics were those of the "soft sell". Having attended the 1999 Cup Final and now seen what England had to offer on this four day visit, the Africans would, we hoped, be taken with our organisational ability and stadia and convinced that a World Cup here would be a commercial success. Stress was put on the multiracial, multicultural aspects of English society and football. England's "Welcome to the World" should, we argued, have a strong appeal to national football associations in Africa. If it came down to England v Germany, the latter, in 1974 had hosted the tournament more recently than England (1966). Moreover, a vote for England, we contended, would place the Africans on the winning side, with the Germans unlikely to gain much support outside of Europe. Enlarging upon what The FA was already doing by way of football aid under the Meridien Project in Africa, The FA and CAF signed a Declaration of Intent committing The FA to a wider and long-term football aid programme throughout the continent. We did not expect the Africans at that time to promise second preference support for England's 2006 Bid, but their expressions of admiration of the English football scene seemed genuine, encouraging us to believe that their support was attainable.


  9.48  Held in Nassau, the CONCACAF Congress looked to be an opportunity to ease ahead of our rivals. Not only did England believe itself closer than its competitors to the three CONCACAF voters, Sir Geoff Hurst's ground-breaking visit the previous month and messages and telephone calls from Sir Bobby Charlton had put the Bid in touch with the national football associations throughout the region. Furthermore, CONCACAF would welcome heavy branding and sponsorship by England's Bid. A considerable outlay in time and effort was justified. For, if England were to win, they could only do so if they had the support of the three CONCACAF FIFA members—Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Costa Rica. While these three would not be mandated by the 35 national football associations which comprise their Confederation and no vote would be taken at the CONCACAF Congress, their representatives undoubtedly would make their views known and exercise influence on the three voters. As part of a comprehensive strategy, England's campaign team decided it would have meetings individually with each of the Presidents and General Secretaries of the thirty-five nations to explain the merits of England's Bid. Inevitable requests for help could be set against The Football Association's recently announced long-term commitment to development aid. Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst and Alec McGivan divided their forces to hold small presentations and dialogues. At the Congress itself, where each of the five candidates made twenty minute presentations, England's investment appeared to have earned a dividend with the warm reception given to its presentation. An equally large organisational effort had gone into the CONCACAF dinner, which England sponsored and arranged. With Garth Crooks as compere and Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst and John Barnes making short speeches, and with a local jazz band creating the right atmosphere, the Bid was content to allow Jack Warner and Sepp Blatter to occupy the limelight.


  9.49  England's road show packed its bags and moved on without pause to Kuala Lumpur for the Asian Congress and presentation. Both script and videos were radically readapted to an occasion and audience lacking the carnival atmosphere of the Caribbean. With the Asian votes apparently still uncommitted and likely to be split among the rival bids, England, Germany and South Africa were competing hard to gain favour. England, unlike its rivals, could not offer deals and had to rely upon the intrinsic merits of its Bid. We hoped also that England's invitation for each Asian country to send a dozen school children to the 2006 final here would be especially welcome. The Football Association had guaranteed that profits from the 2006 tournament would provide scholarships for talented young footballers to train at our academies. Among other "legacies" of a tournament held in England, The FA would offer free "virtual coaching" on the Internet for all, a tournament task-force would supply expertise for Asian countries which were putting on world or regional events, and support would be given to local community projects that demonstrated that they would use football as a "power for good". Proof of The FA's commitment was in the two ODP coaching seminars organised earlier that year under a technical assistance agreement signed with the AFC. As a prelude to the Congress, the King of Malaysia opened the new headquarters of the AFC in Kuala Lumpur. With not only the four Asian FIFA members present but also the Presidents of the other Confederations, lobbying was intense.


  9.50  A few days later, on 20 May, came The FA Cup Final. Having invited all the FIFA 24 the previous year and knowing that this year the FIFA 24 would be heavily engaged with the regional Congresses, The Football Association decided to invite, as its guests, only those FIFA members who had been unable to attend in 1999—not that The FA was going to turn away others, such as Makudi, Hayatou and Diakite, who happened to be in Europe at the time.

  9.51  Additionally, with so much media attention focused on the final stage of the campaigns, The Football Association decided to reinforce England's Bid by inviting some forty leading international journalists to attend the Cup Final and a programme of events arranged around it. The day preceding the Cup Final, the media representatives travelled to Newcastle to inspect the stadium there and then on to Sunderland, returning to London for a dinner, hosted by Tony Banks, at Lancaster House. A pre-match tour of Wembley Stadium followed the next day and then the Cup Final—Aston Villa v Chelsea.


  9.52  Missing the Cup Final, Sir Bobby Charlton and Alec McGivan flew on from Kuala Lumpur to Samoa for the Oceania Football Confederation Congress. With only one voter, Charles Dempsey, New Zealand, and he committed to England, the Bid was hopeful of a less competitive event than those earlier in the month. However, there had been signs that the South Africans were making an effort with the Pacific Island representatives and nothing could be taken for granted. In Samoa, another specially tailored presentation was given by Sir Bobby Charlton and McGivan. In his speech to the Congress, the FIFA President gave a coded message that Oceania, in casting its vote for 2006, should remember that the development of football in its region was in FIFA's hands and its President's views on the desirable venue for 2006 should not be ignored. It seemed to England that FIFA and South African officials at the Congress were working in concert. With little or no warning, a motion was put to the OFC Executive Committee to take a snap vote on which candidate Oceania should support for the World Cup. It was coupled with a move to secure the early retirement of Charles Dempsey himself. In a close result, the Executive opted by a majority of two votes to back England rather than South Africa, while Dempsey was given an extension until September 2000. Although only one World Cup vote was at stake, had the Oceania Executive chosen South Africa and had Dempsey felt obliged to honour that decision, the loss of one of its two certain votes would have been a severe blow to England and seriously damaging to its profile and prospects. As it was, both Sepp Blatter and South Africa had been seen off, at least for the time being. Sir Geoff Hurst's cultivation of the Oceania representatives had paid off.


  9.53  An attractive fixture for England fans was the match on 27 May with Brazil at Wembley. Ricardo Teixeira, President of the Brazilian Football Association and a FIFA member was coming with his team. Apart from occasional conversations at FIFA meetings and tournaments, the Bid Team had had little contact with their Brazilian rival. At a private meeting on the morning of the game, Teixeira's analysis was disarmingly candid. In his view, Germany had to be considered the favourites with seven certain UEFA votes and one or two outside. Only Germany could be certain of reaching the last round of voting. England, although it had campaigned longest and hardest, lacked the support of its own Confederation. Germany would win if South Africa were eliminated and the Africans were to give their four votes to Germany. Brazil could be certain of the three South American votes and would be competing with England for CONCACAF support. Encouragingly for England, Teixeira said that South America would not support Germany and would prefer England if it were a straight fight between the two. If Brazil thought it unlikely that it would get the necessary first round support, ie that of CONCACAF, it might withdraw early. Brazil had deliberately left its campaign late to demonstrate that, with the FIFA World Club Championship, it could successfully stage a world competition, and at short notice. Teixeira advised that with six weeks to go until FIFA's decision, there was "plenty of water still to flow under the bridge", viz the last minute deal on Japan/Korea for 2002. He was to be proved right.


  9.54  On the Spring Bank Holiday, 29 May, Tony Banks went to Riyadh for a meeting with HRH Prince Sultan, President of the Youth and Welfare Authority, and Al Dabal, Saudi Arabia's FIFA member. Al Dabal having, a day before, given our Ambassador a sombre prognosis of England's prospects, Tony Banks realised that he would have to convince Prince Sultan not only of the merits of England's Bid but that England was capable of winning. With Brazil and Morocco likely to be eliminated in early rounds of voting, the battle would be between England, Germany and South Africa. If the South American vote came to England, of which we were now fairly confident, South Africa would be eliminated, and if in turn the Africans sided with England, we would win. Prince Sultan appeared impressed with this analysis and, referring to the very good relations between Saudi Arabia and the UK, said that, in speaking with His Majesty The King and the Crown Prince, he would recommend that Saudi Arabia support England, after Morocco.


  9.55  At the beginning of June England again took stock. The campaign had been going extremely well. Even the domestic media were swinging behind England, sensing that it could win. The arithmetic looked as follows: England had two sure votes in Scotland and New Zealand. CONCACAF had made no commitment. Their three votes were more likely to go to England than to any other candidate. Thailand was in the same position. Under the progressive elimination system of voting, England, with six votes, would survive the first two rounds, which were likely to see the elimination of Morocco and Brazil. We hoped the South Americans would then transfer their three votes to England and if Saudi Arabia supported England too, England's ten votes would see her safely into the final round with Germany, following the elimination of South Africa. If the Africans were then to back England, victory was assured—without the need of European support, apart from that of Scotland.

  9.56  The England team was enormously encouraged by this assessment, but much aware that, with six weeks to go, things could go badly wrong, notably at EURO 2000, with its possible hooligan problems. The UEFA Congress was bound to be difficult. England's votes were scattered around the world and many were conditional upon the elimination of other candidates. Lacking the support of its parent Confederation, England's Bid had always had something of a credibility problem. Perhaps more importantly, when it came to wheeling and dealing in the FIFA discussions proceeding and during successive rounds of voting, England, unlike candidates backed by a Confederation, would not be able to do deals. Unless Jack Warner and his CONCACAF Confederation were prepared to commit themselves to England and to deal in this way, and so far they had given no sign of willingness, England would be at a disadvantage. As yet, it was not clear where the greatest threat would come from. A pro-South African bandwagon, led by the FIFA President to keep out the Germans, might well be persuasive. Alternatively, Confederations such as CONMEBOL and CAF, interested in 2010 if their efforts to succeed in 2006 did not prosper, might put together deals at England's expense. England had grounds for cautious optimism. Subsequent events were to show that this moment in early June was the apogee of England's campaign.


  9.57  While the other candidates, with the backing of their own Confederations, could concentrate all their efforts on achieving a deal with another Confederation, England, in the final month, had to shoot simultaneously at several targets. First of all, assuming the votes of Scotland and New Zealand, they had to pin down CONCACAF. Several meetings with Warner and Blazer would be essential. Similarly, although the news was encouraging, the vote of Worawi, Thailand, had to be clinched. Events beyond England's influence—the withdrawal or elimination of Brazil and Morocco—could bring in the three South American votes and Saudi Arabia, but only if the campaign team were there constantly to persuade and chivvy.

  9.58  Securing the long sought after votes of Mifsud and Villar would be a bonus well worth having, and as it happened, it was to Malta that the campaign team would next go for the centenary match in Valetta between Malta and England. Joe Mifsud, the Malta football President, had been pressing hard for such a match, ideally as a trilateral tournament with Italy, but the latter was apparently not interested. The Football Association recognised that, as the founding influence in the setting up of the Malta FA a hundred years before, it was duty bound to participate. While Malta's match with England did not guarantee that Mifsud would resist UEFA's three line whip and support England, a refusal of Malta's invitation would certainly deny England Malta's 2006 vote. Much the same argument had applied with the Saudi game, with England's participation in the World Youth Championship in Nigeria and with Manchester United's involvement in the World Club Championship in Brazil. FIFA expected England, a World Cup aspirant, to overcome its very considerable domestic problems and to take part. Compliance would not necessarily earn any favours or votes. Refusal could have wrecked England's chances.

  9.59  As on all lobbying visits, an elaborate programme of press conferences and exclusive interviews had been arranged and the British High Commissioner gave a lunch to rally support. The centenary celebrations, which comprised a reception offered by the President of Malta, an orchestral concert and a gala dinner, all provided opportunities for canvassing, as did private meetings arranged with Mifsud and other FIFA members present. England's performance on the pitch, in beating Malta 2—1, was far from convincing, but honour had been satisfied and the 2000 team left Malta knowing that they had done all that was possible to win Dr Mifsud's vote. They had been encouraged too by the final chapter (or was it?) in the Wembley saga, with Brent Council, following a high-stake poker game with The FA and Government, finally giving planning permission for the new complex.


  9.60  England's campaign team for some weeks had been hearing rumours and media speculation that Teixeira of Brazil, with the help of Havelange, the former President of FIFA, was trying to put together a deal with Africa. Teixeira realised that Brazil's prospects for 2006 were poor, but if Brazil were to offer to withdraw, CONMEBOL giving its three votes to South Africa, CAF, the African Confederation, might agree to back Brazil for 2010. Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana was deputed by Hayatou, the African President, to treat with Teixeira and the South Africans. While Teixeira was keen on the deal, others in South America were probably mistrustful of such arrangements. Grondona and Leoz, the key CONMEBOL voters, were dismissive of the South African bid and would much prefer that the tournament were held in England, if not in Brazil. For them, England and Germany co-hosting was preferable to South Africa. If Brazil were to withdraw and the Africans agreed to back Brazil for 2010, would the Africans honour their pledge? Indeed, would the same four African voters, in four years' time, still be members of the FIFA Executive? On the African side, they were still grappling with trying to establish one African candidate. How could the leadership back a South American deal for South Africa when perhaps two of the four African FIFA members would be voting for Morocco, at least in the first round? Hayatou apparently refused to give a written guarantee of reciprocal support. Even so, for him the attractions of the deal must have been obvious. Three votes would not only greatly strengthen South Africa's chances, but if they were at the expense of England, her strongest rival, their value was doubled. While the England campaign team were loath to admit that the South Americans might abandon them, they had to recognise that in the hard world of football politics, expediency mattered, and there could be no denying the mutual attractiveness of such a deal.

  9.61  Alec McGivan concluded that an urgent meeting with the South Americans was imperative and dispatched Frank Wheeler to Zurich, where the FIFA Executive were meeting, to fix it up. The South Americans received him warmly, turning away his enquiries about an impending deal with Africa. A meeting in Paraguay the following week was fixed. Meanwhile Worawi of Thailand, who was to have come to England on 8 June, rather worryingly for England, changed his plans. Jack Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago who, even more disturbingly for England, had been in South Africa just as the rumoured deal between CONMEBOL and CAF was being struck, avoided a meeting with the campaign team when travelling back through Europe. An urgent meeting with him in Trinidad was also essential.


  9.62  EURO 2000 in the Netherlands and Belgium opened on 10 June with a flourish. It had been the hope of the campaign team to attend matches where FIFA members would be present, but the higher priority was to go after the non-European votes. Tony Banks and Sir Bobby Charlton set off for the second visit to Cameroon to see Hayatou, while McGivan waited in London in the hope of seeing Warner. Hayatou was in very friendly mood, having, he said, enormously enjoyed the four-day CAF visit to England and his second FA Cup Final. England, reading between the lines, were encouraged to believe that their patient courting of the Africans would result in all four of them backing England rather than Germany, if these two nations found themselves in the final round of voting.


  9.63  Returning to London, the team had to repack its bags and set off immediately for Asuncion, where CONMEBOL were in session. Their hopes for a quiet and conclusive talk with Nicholas Leoz of Paraguay and Julio Grondona of Argentina were frustrated by the presence of Teixeira, who promptly took over the meeting. None of the South Americans would come clean as to whether a deal with Africa had been agreed and they reverted to arguments about FIFA's acceptance of rotation and a three-year World Cup cycle. There was talk ominously of a FIFA Centenary tournament in 2004, which might be offered as sop to a losing European contender for 2006. To come all the way for a two-hour lunch meeting with the South Americans in Paraguay and to leave with nothing was tremendously disappointing. It was the supreme example of the global commuting a bid team has to undertake without any certainty of gain.


  9.64  If this were not demoralising enough, media reports greeted the campaign team upon their return to Europe on 16 June of English supporters on the rampage in the streets of Brussels. The next day worse disturbances occurred in the mining town of Charleroi, where England was to play Germany that evening. Drunken fans had hurled chairs at the police with the media well positioned to relay pictures of the violence throughout the world. It was the England Bid's worst nightmare come true. The Prime Minister and Tony Banks forthrightly condemned the violence involving English supporters. The UEFA Executive met in emergency session. Some members, under pressure from the Belgian authorities, were apparently advocating that England should be expelled from the tournament. UEFA officials were rightly angry that hooligans should have spoilt what was otherwise an enjoyable and highly successful event. After listening to a very brief explanation from Sir Brian Hayes, The FA Security Adviser, the UEFA Executive issued a public warning that if there were any further English disturbances, the team would be in danger of exclusion from the tournament. UEFA's peremptory and public warning signalled not only the Executive's understandable condemnation of the English fans' behaviour, but also reflected the very poor relations between UEFA and the FA. English domestic media reports, copied instantly and avidly by the world press, grabbed the headlines, first in graphically reporting the hooliganism and then in highlighting UEFA's announcement—two successive body-blows to the 2006 campaign. Coupled with the reported South American/African deal, England's Bid, which had looked so promising a fortnight before, was in tatters. Even England's core supporters, CONCACAF, were publicly saying—both Blazer and Warner—how can FIFA award the World Cup tournament to a country whose fans show so little respect for the game? Even if cooler heads on the FIFA Executive recognised that England's crowd problems were "away" rather than "at home" and a World Cup could safely be held in England, the sentiment expressed by Blazer and Warner must have been widely shared by many of them.


  9.65  The FA Chairman, the Chief Executive, David Davies, Tony Banks and senior members of the campaign team met in Waterloo, Belgium, on 19 June. The mood was sombre. The reputation of English football was at a low ebb. As for the Bid, hopes of victory were fading fast. If the most we might now hope for was to get a respectable minimum of votes, we had urgently to shore up our main support. An immediate visit to New York should be made to see Blazer and Warner. For the next few days, the campaign team should soldier on, but should cancel a planned visit to Mali, which now seemed of marginal value.

  9.66  Over the next weekend, Alec McGivan joined Tony Banks in New York. They took the line that if CONCACAF were to abandon England, it could be construed as a victory for hooliganism. After hours of discussion Blazer and Warner accepted this argument and assured England of their support. However, both counselled that England could not now win. It would be in our best interests to withdraw gracefully. The first part of their advice was difficult to reject, the second equally hard to accept.


  9.67  If the campaign team were to soldier on until the vote, it was vital to make a good showing at the UEFA Congress on 30 June, where The FA would be giving a presentation along with its rivals, and finally to the FIFA Executive on 5 July. Preparations were in their final phase and the Campaign Director felt he had no choice, if morale were to be maintained, to shield younger members of the Bid team from the harsh news that defeat was inevitable. A series of meetings was held between senior members of the Bid team, Tony Banks and Adam Crozier, the Chief Executive, and David Davies. Crozier said that he had to accept the assessment of the campaign team on England's prospects. The immediate issue was whether it would be in the best interests of The Football Association to continue lobbying or whether to withdraw there and then. Much depended upon the expected final voting figures. If England could be sure of getting five or six votes, the outcome, although hugely disappointing, would be an honourable defeat. In any event, the Prime Minister would have to be informed of The FA's conclusion before any announcement was made. In their hearts, the campaign team, which had achieved much and were proud of the Bid, did not want to see nearly four years of campaigning end in withdrawal. Rational assessment, however, suggested that not only was defeat inevitable but humiliation a distinct possibility. After discussion with Tony Banks, Sir Bobby Charlton and Frank Wheeler, Alec McGivan reluctantly decided to recommend withdrawal, but as The Football Association's reputation was at stake, it would be for The FA Board to decide the next day.


  9.68  On 28 June Alec McGivan, supported by Sir Bobby Charlton, Tony Banks and Frank Wheeler, gave a detailed and reasoned presentation to a hastily convened meeting of The FA Board. Geoff Thompson, the Chairman, was still on UEFA business at EURO 2000 and could not attend. Alec McGivan described progress of the Bid from its inception, the problems the Bid had encountered with the Europeans, ending with the disclosure that South American support, essential to England's success, had apparently been withdrawn. The FA Board needed little further description of the events at EURO 2000, recognising that sentiment in FIFA and more widely had, as a result, swung away from England. On top of this, McGivan revealed that The FA had advance knowledge that the FIFA Inspection Report, shortly to be published, would place South Africa and Germany in the top category of "Very Well Qualified", with England in the lower category of "Well Qualified" and Morocco and Brazil assessed as "Qualified", ie England had been rated third. McGivan then drew the inevitable conclusion that England could not win. He mentioned the possibility of proposing a joint bid with Germany, although this seemed to be unlikely to be attractive or acceptable either to Germany or to FIFA as a whole.

  9.69  Turning to the key issue of continuing the campaign or withdrawal, McGivan analysed the votes. Withdrawal had some advantages. Whatever the outcome, England would want to mend its fences with UEFA and withdrawal would be welcome to the Europeans and allow Germany to be the single candidate of a united Europe. If Germany, slightly against the odds, were to go on to win, England could expect to host the tournament when it was again Europe's turn or, if Germany were to lose, England might even be given a clear run for 2010. If England were to withdraw now, many people would understand the reasons, given the denial of South American support and, above all, changed sentiment following the hooliganism in Brussels, which would deprive England of European support. On the other hand, if England soldiered on, it would be fighting a rearguard action in very uncertain political landscape and in the face of strong opposition, for different reasons, from UEFA and FIFA. The going would be exceedingly tough with the impending pressures of the UEFA Congress and a row over the extremely unfair inspection report. England might well emerge with no more than a couple of votes. Emotionally, we wanted to fight on, but cold thinking suggested that dignified withdrawal was preferable. The immediate reaction of several members of The FA board was indignation and anger at the FIFA inspection report. In no way should English stadia and other facilities be rated lower than those of South Africa or Germany. The World Cup was again being decided by politics. A question was asked as to whether there was any Government pressure upon The FA to withdraw, to which the answer was "no". After private consideration with the Chief Executive, The FA board concluded that England should fight on, do their best to win as many votes as possible and to put a brave face on defeat. The whole campaign team was briefed accordingly.


  9.70  For the Bid team, there was an air of unreality about the UEFA Congress, which took place in Luxembourg on 30 June. It was essential that the team should appear confident, even robust and they were greatly encouraged by the election that day to the UEFA Executive of The FA Chairman. Presentations were made by the five rival candidates, which were all accorded a good hearing. Given England's difficulties, there was no need for the Germans openly to portray themselves as Europe's chosen candidate or for UEFA manoeuvres, feared earlier, to exclude England's bid. Media interest in the Congress was intense with every movement of the England team covered by television. Rumours about the FIFA inspection report began to spread. After much discussion, the campaign team resolved to embark upon a bold strategy and to go on to the offensive exposing the apparent weakness of UEFA's position. After all, England had nothing to lose. At a press conference, the Bid team began by apologizing for the unacceptable behaviour of some English fans. Turning to the Bid, Sir Bobby Charlton pointed out that Germany had little support outside of Europe. Tony Banks, pressed to enlarge, said that, England's analysis was that South Africa would beat Germany by a narrow margin. Germany could not win. Logically, European FIFA members would do better to switch their support to England, which, with its wider backing outside of Europe, had the better chance of defeating South Africa. Part of the media accepted the logic of the argument. Others regarded it as ill-judged and provocative.

  9.71  The same afternoon, the team moved on to Rotterdam, for the final of EURO 2000. Quite a few of the non-European FIFA members had come for the big match and the English lobbying team maintained its devotion to England's Bid. FIFA members, as always, played their cards very close to their chests.


  9.72  By 3 July everyone had moved to Zurich for the final presentation, which the five rival bids would make to the FIFA Executive and then the voting itself, the outcome of which was to be staged at a conference hall outside of the city, where the FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, would reveal the winner's name to the waiting throng and the world media. But before this, all the rival candidates engaged in frantic, last-minute lobbying. Tony Banks, Sir Bobby Charlton, Alec McGivan and Frank Wheeler tracked down the South Americans and arranged a meeting, at their hotel, with Leoz and Grondona. Teixeira of Brazil was sitting at a nearby table and Grondona consulted him before coming to talk to us. He would not confirm that the South Americans had done a deal with the Africans, but significantly he did not say in terms that South America would support England, if Brazil were out of the running. He explicitly denied rumours that Brazil had, in fact, withdrawn, saying that the views of Brazil's President, Cardosa, were being sought. After this unsatisfactory exchange, the group went to see the President of the Asian Football Confederation, the Sultan of Pahang, flanked by his General Secretary, Peter Velappan. They listened very courteously to England's final appeal, neither encouraging nor discouraging, and disclosed nothing of their intentions. Velappan did, however, reveal that Brazil's letter of withdrawal had been lodged some hours before with FIFA and obtained a copy of it for the team to see. It was cold comfort to learn that several influential FIFA members were scathing about the inspection report, recognising that England had suffered an injustice.

  9.73  On the day before England's presentation, the campaign team, including Tony Banks, met at their hotel, now joined by Geoff Thompson and Adam Crozier. They reviewed the day's news. Little had changed. If England were to go out with a respectable tally of votes, CONCACAF support was essential. Meetings were then arranged with Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer at the FIFA hotel, where rumours were circulating that the African vote was going to be split in the first round equally between South Africa and Morocco. CONCACAF, Warner and Blazer repeated, firmly believed that England could not win, but did not wish to let down their English friends. While they were ready to honour their commitment by voting for England in the first round, they would support England in the second only if we were to win at least six votes in the first (in practice, if England were to get Thailand's vote as well as those of Scotland, New Zealand and CONCACAF). Five votes and we would go our separate ways.

  9.74  Meanwhile, in the wider world, speculation was rife. "A mood of defiance, tinged with outlandish optimism pervaded the England camp here yesterday, just forty-eight hours before the FIFA ballot to decide which country will stage the 2006 World Cup" was how "The Times" described England's Bid and attitude. It was pretty near the truth. The press had already designated South Africa as the victors. Franz Beckenbauer characterised the private deal between South America and Africa as "offensive". A deal between Germany and Asia, to be revealed by the voting the next day, was apparently of a different order.

  9.75  On the next morning each campaign team trooped in to make its final presentation to the FIFA Executive. Probably the Germans' was the most memorable, featuring "Beckenbauer's dream", with Claudia Schiffer lending her personable support to Germany's campaign. More important, were the behind the scenes manoeuvrings in the final hours. Messages from the British Prime Minister to many of the FIFA members, a different message in each instance, were delivered. England's campaign team, doubtless like the others, was constantly reappraising its prospects and tactics. In the small hours of the morning upon which the vote was to be taken, Tony Banks and Alec McGivan were locked in conversations with Chuck Blazer and Jack Warners. Five, not six votes in the first round, they argued, should be the condition of CONCACAF's support in the second. Five rather than six mattered, as England were unsure, in the final analysis, of the backing of Worawi Makudi of Thailand, despite the fact that a close colleague of Makudi rang the Bid, upon Makudi's instructions, on the morning of the vote, to confirm that Thailand would vote for England. However, CONCACAF would not budge.

  9.76  A final meeting of the England team on the morning of 6 July, the date inscribed in red in the campaign diary, was interrupted by a call from David Will of Scotland with news of the outcome of the voting. To everybody's amazement, Germany had won by twelve votes to eleven (South Africa) with one abstention (New Zealand). England had recorded five votes in the first round, following which Morocco was eliminated, and two in the second. Interest in England's performance was eclipsed by the total astonishment at the final vote. Germany and UEFA had succeeded in doing a deal with Asia, whose four votes, together with UEFA's eight had given them twelve—not enough for victory if South Africa had secured the same number and had enjoyed the casting vote of the President, Sepp Blatter. However, Charles Dempsey, the veteran New Zealand representative, having stated that he would vote for England, which he did, declared he would, upon legal advice from Auckland, take no further part in the proceedings, following "threats and intolerable pressures" made upon him. He had already left Zurich on the way home in the vain hope of avoiding further publicity.

  9.77  For the England team, the final ceremony, staged with considerable showmanship by FIFA, was an anticlimax, just as for South Africa and Sepp Blatter the disappointment was palpable. Sir Bobby Charlton, Tony Banks and Alec McGivan, together with Adam Crozier, faced the domestic and international press, while the other bidders were giving due account to their media. England's defeat had come as no surprise. Victory had been discounted some days before by even the most supportive journalist. McGivan, in the face of defeat, alluded to some of the secondary achievements of the Bid, not least in extending The Football Association's contacts and influence, after years of neglect, throughout the football world and in conducting a bid which objective commentators recognised as the most professional. Events largely beyond the England Bid's control and, above all, football politics had denied England a better outcome.

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