Memorandum submitted by the Football Association
10.1 Looking back over the history of the
bid, England's campaign faced a series of challengessome
a result of events that occurred during the bidding process and
others that existed throughout, for example, English football's
relative lack of influence overseas (para 7.5).
A summary of the principal obstacles the English
campaign faced is set out below:
The So-Called Gentlemen's Agreement.
10.2 This issue arose six months after the
Football Association had announced its intention to bid for World
Cup 2006 when out of the blue EUFA sent a fax to The FA at the
end of January 1997. The circumstances that arose are described
in Chapters 2 and 9 of this report and also in Appendices 6 and
10.3 Whatever the rights and wrongs of the
situation, and there will always remain a difference of view between
the German and English campaigns, this issue caused the biggest
headache to the English bid. Throughout, it remained important
to a bloc of Europeans and made that bloc determined to support
10.4 The issue ensured that our own Confederation,
UEFA, whilst officially not taking sides, did everything it could
to ensure victory for Germany. Try as we might to counter the
spurious arguments put forward in support of this so-called agreement,
the reality is that England never really overcame this obstacle.
10.5 Not surprisingly, the Germans came
back to it time and time again. It was a good issue for the German
campaign to press and tended to overshadow Germany's promotion
of the positive side of its own case for hosting the tournament.
10.6 At the outset we had good reason to
believe that we could overcome the issue of the so-called agreement,
but ultimately we failed. Crucially it deprived us of majority
support within our Confederation, and undermined our credibility
with FIFA members outside of Europe.
10.7 It is easy to see the hooligan issue
simply in terms of what happened at EURO 2000. This however, as
far as the bid was concerned, is an over-simplification.
10.8 First, the history of hooliganism in
England made this from the outset a cause of concern, both to
the English campaign and to those we were canvassing. England's
reputation for hooliganism travelled ahead of the campaign team
and it was an issue we were often questioned about, particularly
by the international media who in every other sense continually
seemed receptive to our message.
10.9 We had to work hard to convince the
international journalists and others in world football that the
problem of hooliganism had largely been solved. In this respect
EURO '96 was a great benefit, as it illustrated that England could
stage a peaceful and highly enjoyable international football event.
On the whole, we managed to convince others that the problem was
one that largely arose outside of the UK and therefore was not
an issue as far as staging the World Cup was concerned. Nevertheless,
in a general sense, hooliganism was a thorn in English football's
flesh and will, at least for the foreseeable future, be an issue
that will be raised by others overseas.
10.10 Secondly, there was the trouble in
Marseilles. This occurred during World Cup '98 and reminded everyone
once again of the problem. The only good thing was that this episode
was still over two years away from the 2006 vote and therefore
unlikely to have any immediate impact on anyone's decision. That
said, the trouble in Marseilles was extremely unhelpful.
10.11 Thirdly, there was the trouble at
EURO 2000 itself, which occurred on the 16 and 17 June, some three
weeks before the crucial World Cup vote. While many have subsequently
argued that the trouble was not as bad as it was portrayed, the
media coverage of the events that occurred in Brussels and Charleroi
was damning. Every newspaper on the Sunday morning (18 June) had
pages of violent scenes and the reality was that it was impossible
to defend the actions of a mindless bunch of hooligans. Outright
condemnation from the Prime Minister downwards was all that England
could offer and the world of football was left asking questions
as to how much English football and the political authorities
had actually managed to do to prevent this problem happening.
Added to this, the Germans, who were also vulnerable on this issue,
had clearly had more success than us in preventing hooligans reaching
10.12 Worse was to come as within twenty
four hours UEFA was threatening to send the England team homeanother
blow to our international standing.
10.13 The trouble at EURO 2000 was not the
sole deciding factor in undermining our World Cup Bid, but it
was immensely damaging to the English campaign and came at just
the wrong moment. "How could hooliganism be rewarded by giving
England the World Cup?" was not an unreasonable question.
Had the FIFA Executive stuck to their original date of March 2000
for the vote on the 2006 World Cup, the outcome might just have
The FIFA Presidential Election
10.14 The election of a new President of
FIFA in the summer of 1998 presented a different type of challenge
to the English campaign. On the one hand England as a "good
European" would be expected to support UEFA President, Lennart
Johansson, in his quest to become FIFA President. Not to do so
would only further alienate those in Europe who had given their
backing to Germany. The alternative candidate was Sepp Blatter,
then General Secretary of FIFA, who was already on record as favouring
an African candidate for World Cup 2006.
10.15 While there were other factors the
Football Association had to take into consideration, this report
only looks at the issue from a bidding point of view. The FA did
all it could to persuade Lennart Johansson to take a more independent
line. After all, as FIFA President, would it not be sensible for
him to be impartial between England and Germany rather than partisan?
Lennart Johansson never accepted this argument and right throughout
his election campaign maintained that he was a firm supporter
of Germany and would not countenance the English bid. In many
ways this was an unwise position for a would-be FIFA President
to adopt, as he was not only closing his mind to an English bid,
but also to bids from Brazil and Africa. Nevertheless Lennart
Johansson would not budge. Nor apparently would his firmest Presidential
supporters within UEFA, who continued to adhere to the German
10.16 The alternative, Sepp Blatter, was
not that much easier from the English bid's point of view. True,
he was known to favour England over Germany. The Germans were
very active in the Johansson campaign and his relations with Germany
were not close. That said, he clearly favoured South Africa, or
possibly an African alternative, over England.
10.17 The main difficulty for the English
bid was that those who were Blatter's closest supporters were
also those that England needed to attract for the World Cup vote.
Significant voices on the FIFA Executive, while not endorsing
Blatter's aspirations for South Africa and the World Cup, nonetheless
firmly supported him for the Presidency. The FA was therefore
strongly urged to back Blatter if it wished to find favour with
those outside Europe on the FIFA Executive who were increasingly
sympathetic to England's case for the World Cup. On a visit to
Qatar the Amir himself stressed the importance of voting for Blatter
for the Presidency. Jack Warner, the President of CONCACAF did
the same and so did the South Americans.
10.18 While the Football Association may
have had other reasons to vote for Johansson, at the end of the
day the World Cup issue dominated the Presidential decision. In
terms of the World Cup bid it was impossible to be enthusiastic
about either candidate. Nonetheless we concluded that Blatter
was preferable. Voting for Blatter guaranteed us nothing. However
not voting for Blatter would have guaranteed alienating nearly
all our potential support outside of Europe and would probably
have written England's bid off at a stroke.
10.19 Looking back, from the bid's point
of view, we made the right decision. Sadly, our public support
for Sepp Blatter, which many believe was crucial in his election,
was not a debt repaid by the FIFA President. Increasingly he became
a public advocate of South Africa and many commentators would
argue that the way he played his hand towards the end gifted the
World Cup to Germany. If he had shown more support for England,
after his first choice of South Africa, we might have been in
a better position to step in should South Africa fail. As it was,
the FIFA President got the least of his favoured options.
The Kelly/Wiseman Crisis
10.20 Towards the end of 1998 a crisis arose
in English football that resulted in the resignation of the Chief
Executive, Graham Kelly, and subsequently in the New Year of 1999
the departure of the Chairman of the FA, Keith Wiseman. Much was
written about this issue at the time and it is not the job of
this report to go over those details here. Suffice it to say that
there was a link with the World Cup in that the issue of financial
support for the Welsh FA was associated by some with a possible
vote by Wales to secure Keith Wiseman a place on the FIFA Executive.
Such a place was thought by many, including some powerful FIFA
voices, to be crucial in helping England secure the hosting of
the World Cup tournament.
10.21 The huge publicity given to this episode,
not just domestically but all over the World, obviously had a
bearing on the bid. As it transpired the crisis gave the FA the
opportunity for new leadership and this almost certainly helped
the bid in the long run. At the time, however, damage was done
to the Football Association's reputation and the bid, as the public
face of English football abroad, had to contend with the criticism.
Shortly afterwards Glenn Hoddle resigned as England Coach. While
this in itself had nothing to do with the bid it tended to add
to the perception of a crisis in English football. Here was a
country bidding to stage the World Cup which had managed to lose
a Chief Executive, a Chairman and a national coach in the space
of two months. Inevitably questions were being asked overseas
about what was going on in English football.
10.22 The building of a new Wembley had
been part of England's case for hosting the World Cup from the
very start of the campaign. It had been enshrined as one of the
"Six Reasons" why England should host the tournament.
Here was the World's most famous and best-loved football stadiumthe
"cathedral of football" and the "venue of legends"about
to be replaced by what everyone anticipated would be the best
and most modern football stadium anywhere in the World. What better
setting for the World Cup final of 2006?
10.23 Unfortunately the Wembley story did
not run smoothly from the bid's point of view. Having highlighted
it as a key part of our case, it was damaging that there were
so many problems with the Wembley development throughout the life
of the bid. Early timetables were delayed, questions were asked
about funding and there were public arguments about athletics
tracks. The difficulties reached their height in December 1999
when the campaign was present at the World Cup 2002 Draw at Tokyo
in Japan. The potential demise of the Wembley project was headline
news in the Japanese English-language newspapers. FIFA Executive
Committee members began asking serious questions. It was the culmination
of a number of well-publicised problems regarding Wembley. What
might be considered normal in the English domestic market as a
few teething problems allowed our opponents to suggest that new
Wembley might never happen at all. Consequently although Wembley
was still a plus for the campaign, it was not the good story that
it should have been.
Manchester United and the World Cup Championship
10.24 In terms of issues that arose that
of Manchester United and the World Club Championship will probably
always remain the most notorious in the life of the English bid.
The issue achieved widespread coverage in the domestic media and
resulted in a good deal of criticism of the Football Association
and the Government. The Daily Mirror in particular waged a far-fetched
but prolonged campaign on the subject. Manchester United's subsequent
performance in Brazil, when they disappointed on the pitch, resurrected
the issues again in the New Year of 2000.
10.25 The World Club Championship highlighted
a real dilemma that any World Cup bidding nation is likely to
face. Demands are made of the bidder, which if met guarantee nothing,
but if they are not met almost certainly lead to failure.
10.26 There had been a similar case in April
1999 when some at home felt England should refuse to participate
in England's Under 17 championship in Nigeria. The same arguments
were put forward then as with the World Club Championship. FIFA's
message was quite simple. Manchester United as Champions of Europe
were expected to represent UEFA at the World Club Championship
to be held in Brazil in January 2000. Of course, the fact that
Manchester United had won the Champions' League in such spectacular
style in Barcelona only underlined the importance to FIFA of the
club's appearance at the first World Club Championships. Ironically
too, if Manchester United failed to appear they would be replaced
by the ever-eager Germans who would send Bayern Munich.
10.27 Here was a country seeking to invite
the world of football to England to participate in the World Cup
and yet were we prepared to travel overseas to play in an important
FIFA tournament in Brazil? If we were not prepared to be good
FIFA members and send Manchester United to the first World Club
Championship, why should we expect support for our own attempt
to host the World Cup? Put in those terms, as it was very forcibly,
the FA found itself in a very difficult situation.
10.28 As the Bid Diary (see para. 8.38)
describes, all sorts of possibilities were discussed with Manchester
United in June 1999. Ultimately the least bad solution was for
Manchester United not to participate in the FA Cup for the 1999-2000
10.29 Reluctantly this was agreed by all
parties, a decision that resulted in much dissatisfaction within
the English domestic football scene. Ironically too, it was not
a decision that was greeted with much support internationally.
Given the enormous sacrifice that was being made by English football
in order to send Manchester United to Brazil, we did not reap
the rewards as much as we should have done. Sepp Blatter, as FIFA
President, could not see the need for Manchester United to leave
the FA Cup and gave the FA little support on the issue. Then,
the event itself when it came round in January 2000 was a disappointment
not least from Manchester United's point of view. Questions were
again asked about whether the exclusion from the FA Cup had really
been worth it. For the bid the gains were limited, and yet not
to have fulfilled the commitment to the World Club Championship
would have been catastrophic. If Manchester United had failed
to go to Brazil it is hard to see how the bid could have continued.
10.30 Another issue that any bidding nation
has to face is that of international fixtures. Certainly the Germans
were constantly addressing the issue, as were Brazil. The dilemma
is really quite simple. Countries bidding for the right to host
the World Cup are inevitably constantly requested to play their
national team against would-be supporters. Once again, agreeing
guarantees nothing but refusal causes great offence.
10.31 In England's case a very specific
request was made by Saudi Arabia to play a fixture at Wembley.
England had played in Saudi Arabia ten years before and had been
unable to fix the rematch. Later in the bidding process we were
under considerable pressure from Malta to participate in the celebration
of the Maltese FA's centenary. This request came with some justification
as England had established football in Malta 100 years ago. Thailand
too came in with a request for England to visit. Korea wanted
a fixture. So, ideally did Trinidad and Tobago.
10.32 In the important world of English
domestic football, these requests might seem hard to understand.
Surely such countries realise that the English football calendar
is far too congested to play friendly matches against them? However,
it is not an argument you can deploy if you are trying to persuade
those same countries to vote for you for the World Cup. Important
football countries such as England, Germany and Brazil come under
enormous pressure to meet such requests. Some inevitably receive
a polite, but risky, negative response but others simply have
to be met.
10.33 The FA quite rightly felt it could
never dictate to its national coach about fixtures. All the bid
could do was to put forward such requests and underline the "political"
arguments in favour of meeting them. Some we were able to fulfil,
others we had to reject.
10.34 The above seven issues highlight the
key challenges that occurred. The narrative campaign diary identifies
other issues that occurred throughout the four years of the bid.
It would be a mistake, however, to assume that it was only the
English campaign that faced such difficulties. The South Africans,
for example, were constantly under pressure, world-wide, on the
subject of violence in South Africa. The Germans no doubt faced
other difficulties one of which was attracting genuine enthusiasm
from outside Europe. But what we have tried to do here is bring
to the Committee's attention some of the dilemmas that the English
bid faced. These are problems that had a bearing on the outcome
and we believe that they are important issues to understand in
seeking to comprehend the intricate nature of the World Cup bidding
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