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Anson - Process has to change

England chief ex gives views after reflecting on failed bid

Last Updated: 05/12/10 12:38pm

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Anson: Time to reflect

Anson: Time to reflect

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England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson believes the World Cup bidding process needs to change.

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England gained only the votes of their own Geoff Thompson and one other Fifa ExCo member as they crashed out of the World Cup 2018 bidding vote at the first hurdle, despite having what many believed was the best technical bid and presentation.

Anson now believes the apparent agenda to send the World Cup to new territories, confirmed by the success of the technically inferior Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 teams, will mean a traditional heartland like England have no chance of winning the hosting right for many decades under current rules.

He said: "It's going to be 50, 60, 70 years before we have the World Cup again. That would be sad because it would be an amazing event.

"No-one cares about football as much as England and it's sad that we're not even getting close to having a World Cup here.

"If we knew that there was an agenda we would not bother bidding but there's no criteria saying '(breaking) new frontiers counts for 10 times more than anything'. They actually lose money when they go to these markets.

"The process needs to be more clearly defined in terms of what Fifa is looking for. If we'd known the defining factor is that going to new frontiers is going to be 90 per cent of the decision and only 10 per cent down to whether it would be a good World Cup, if we'd known it was going to Russia or Qatar, or in the future China, we'd probably never have bid."

Positive action

Asked about whether it was feasible to effect a change in the running of Fifa, and the World Cup allocation process in particular, Anson advocated positive action.

He suggested a regular change of personnel in the ExCo panel and suggested several major nations would have to band together to have a chance of success.

"There are number of Fifa ExCo reps who have been there for 25 years, that's not healthy," he said.

"I think we need to look at having term limits or there won't be anyone coming in to change things. These are 22 guys who've been together forever and they're very protective of this very cushy lifestyle.

"But there is not going to be a World Cup bid for eight years and no-one has anything to lose. It might be the time for big powerful countries - the USA, Australia, Spain, ourselves - who feel this has been handled badly, to make their opinions felt.

"It's tough but there's a real chance. If anyone is going to do it now is the time and we should act quickly."

Anson also suggested that as many as five ExCo members had claimed to have voted for England following their first round exit, even though only one can have done so.

Not promised

He also said Jack Warner and his two CONCACAF colleagues had not promised their votes to England at an early stage and instead were undecided heading into the final presentations.

"We have been talking to various people and I think our tally is back up to five from the people who have told us they voted for us," he said.

"We thought we might have gone out in the first round with five votes, so when we were told we had two we were shocked.

"We had to believe there were still enough decent people in that room. People told us they looked at the technical books, looked at the bid books...we thought they'd take things seriously but that proved not to be true."

As for the missing CONCACAF votes, which were central to England's hopes and were chased almost obsessively in the last two years, Anson added: "The CONCACAF guys clearly told us they would make their mind up on the day of presentations and if they had come to us not Russia we'd have been five votes each and Holland/Belgium would have gone out.

"I don't believe their votes were stitched and nothing has happened to make me believe that."

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