Officials admit bid dismay
Minister and Mayor eager to learn from failed World Cup effort
Last Updated: 02/12/10 5:37pm
Robertson: World Cup woe
English officials have expressed their dismay at losing out to Russia in the bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport, admitted he was struggling to understand why Fifa overlooked England's bid.
But the minister is convinced that England did everything in their power to win the rights to host its first World Cup since 1966 despite some obvious hiccups along the way.
"We have had some disappointing moments but we arrived here with a magnificent technical bid and gave a great technical bid and a great presentation," he told Sky Sports News.
"We encouraged them to vote for football reasons. At the moment I don't understand and the only possible explanation is the one given by Sepp Blatter when he announced the decision, which was wanting to take football to new frontiers.
"I'm not sure I would say we were humiliated, everybody saw our presentation this morning and it was widely praised as being the best one the Fifa ExCo (executive committee) received.
"We now need to go away to understand why this happened."
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, added that the result was "tremendously disappointing", but stressed that the capital still has the 2012 Olympics to look forward to.
"We put together a cracking bid, our technical specification was top notch and our stadiums would have been packed to the rafters," said Johnson.
"Londoners love football. This is a blow but we have achieved a great deal with this bid and we have much to look ahead to.
"We remain 100%-focused on developing London as the most exciting sporting destination in the world, and we have a lot to offer other countries, from putting together our bid and from planning the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"We will carry on providing a strong voice in football and world sport."
He added: "The international exposure we've had through the bid process is incredible and we have shown that England's wonderfully diverse and open cities are ripe for hosting the very best sporting events from all corners of the world.
"This has been a bid to be proud of and, whilst of course we congratulate Russia, we can look ahead to hosting the UEFA Champions League Final next year and the Olympics in 2012, the first time since 1948."