Skip to content

England 'stitched up' by FIFA over failed 2018 World Cup bid

Sepp Blatter announcing Russia had won the bid to stage the 2018 World Cup
Image: Sepp Blatter has claimed it was decided Russia was to host the 2018 World Cup before the vote.

One of the senior figures behind England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup has described FIFA's process in awarding the tournament to Russia as a "stitch up".

FIFA president Sepp Blatter claimed on Wednesday that an agreement was in place for the 2018 World Cup to go to Russia even before the vote took place.

Simon Johnson - chief operating officer of England's 2018 bid - believes the FA and sponsors, who contributed £21m in funds - now have a good case to recover the money they outlaid.

"We've long thought the process was not fair, objective or transparent," Johnson told Sky Sports News HQ.

"We've learnt over the last year it was probably corrupt and we discovered yesterday through Sepp Blatter's own admission that the process was a stitch-up, a charade and a sham.

"To have had it confirmed they [FIFA] had actually pre-agreed that it was going to be awarded to Russia really does show it was a stich-up. It was rigged from the beginning and as a result my clear view is that FIFA was in clear breach of the contract it entered into with England as a bidder.

David Beckham (c) and Prince William (r) were closely involved in England's unsuccessful bid.
Image: David Beckham (c) and Prince William (r) were closely involved in England's unsuccessful bid.

"The FA now has every right now in my opinion to claim back damages from FIFA for breach of contract and recover the full amount the FA, host cities and sponsors paid for the bid."

Also See:

Johnson does not believe the tournament should be taken away from Russia at this late stage but feels the FA must try and recoup the money they spent on a bid he now describes as "a waste of time".

"What happens now between FIFA and Russia is for them," he said.

"If England had lost to Russia in what was objectively and validly a fair fight nobody would have had a problem. Russia put together a very good bid and there are many arguments to say they fully deserved to win but what we've learnt across the last few years, months but especially over the last 24 hours, was that the process wasn't fair.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan has described Sepp Blatter's claims concerning the rigging of the 2018 World Cup as 'outrageous'

"But we've long felt you can't take it away from Russia now. They will, I'm sure, put on an excellent tournament but the FA and losing bidders are perfectly entitled to consider that they were induced by FIFA to enter into a bidding process that was at no point fair, objective or transparent

"That's why the right to do is to claim back compensation from FIFA for inducing bidders into what was a rigged bidding process. I think the FA has got an obligation to look as carefully as it can to bringing action to recover the costs for as bid that was ultimately a waste of time.

"I don't know [if they will], all I know is what you reported yesterday that Greg Dyke said they would look at it. I would suggest they look at it very carefully."

Around Sky