Thursday, December 02, 2010

England's Failure

I suspect if it hadn't been another 'snow day' I'd have been a lot less enlightened about the England 2018 World Cup football bid. As it is, that and the snow have indeed been the only two stories that either of the main news networks have bothered to invest in.

I guess it's disappointing that the World Cup isn't 'coming home' just yet, all the more so given that England's late run has been so impressive. But I can clearly see the advantages of the Russian bid, and the Qatar 2022 bid as well. Football hasn't been just a game for years, and Sepp Blatter is not just some simple football chairman. His political ambitions are to see international football extend its roots into places that might have hitherto been seen as unreal. England didn't offer the chance to break through in Eastern Europe for the first time, and despite the Football United scheme that was associated with the bid, the economic and social gains for Russia of their bid are considerable. As for Qatar, their scheme to send their new stadia to different parts of the undeveloped world after the tournament is audacious and ambitious. That said, neither country is exactly a shining light in terms of their human rights approaches. Journalists who have the temerity to challenge the authorities in Russia have an alarming tendency to get beaten up to within an inch of their resultingly crippled lives, whilst Qatar follows a less than enlightened equal opportunities policy, based on a traditional reading of the Koran. Perhaps the searchlight of western media will lead to some changes...perhaps people just won't bother going.

The BBC investigations into FIFA may or may not have affected the voting, but if they did then it merely exemplifies the problems that FIFA have; perhaps instead it is time for England to try and reignite the little legions of footballers across the country, rather than fencing with the corporate international organisation. And maybe that means a re-visit of the policy to cut the School Sports Partnership too - if the government do that, they will make a more direct impact on English football than any World Cup hosting success.

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