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2 December 2010

England lose World Cup!

Now we play the blame game . . .

By Duncan Robinson

After a torturously long introduction, Sepp Blatter announced that Russia and Qatar will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, respectively.

Pah. Russia gets our World Cup, we get their weather

According to various tweets, England went out in the first round. So what went wrong? England rolled out their biggest guns: the heir to the throne, the Prime Minister and David Beckham (who will now have to wait a while for that knighthood). Who should we blame?

BBC

The main candidate so far is the BBC. A Panorama special looked into the allegations of corruption that have persistently dogged Fifa for the past two decades. Jack Warner, whose family firm allegedly earned £1m from reselling tickets at the 2006 World Cup, and whose votes England had to get to have even an outside chance of winning, was said to be especially displeased by the programme. Investigative journalism and FIFA do not sit well together.

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Mail on Sunday

In an undercover sting, the Mail on Sunday triggered the resignation of the England bid chief, David Triesman, after he was recorded claiming that other bids were corrupt. See above comment re: investigative journalists.

Sunday Times

Muckraking journalists are not friends of Fifa. They really, really aren’t.

The Sportugal bid

Persistent rumours surround the joint bid of Spain and Portugal, the main one being that they cut a deal with the Qataris to swap votes. Spain and Portugal missed out, while Qatar succeeded.

These are probably the main candidates (along with financial clout from both Russia and Qatar). But who else can we blame?

Prince William

Could have invited all the Fifa delegates to his wedding. Didn’t.

David Cameron

The PM gave a slick performance on stage, but was his backstage schmoozing up to scratch?

The weather

An English summer does not contain the 50-degree Celsius days that the Qatari summer does, and which Fifa obviously prefers.

Julian Assange

Well, why not?

David Beckham, however, summed it all up quite neatly.

Reporter: “What went wrong?”

Beckham: “We didn’t get enough votes.”