For the Olympic announcement that London will host 2012, I was in Madrid getting ready for a La Liga show. When Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 F1 World championship, I was nearly in tears.
I wonder if England getting just 2 votes for the bid to host the 2018 World Cup will be one of them.I was stuck on a train, battling to get back into London to head into Sky Sports. I felt so excited about the bid and had almost had a full swing in opinion.
Only 48 hours earlier I was sure that England would not win the tournament, I just had one of those gut feelings going on. I was like a few others - convinced the 22 committee members would have already made their minds up.
However being involved in the build up on Sky Sports News and reading all the reports about the schmoozing of the three Lions, David Beckham, Prince William and David Cameron, I was starting to believe there was a chance.
So, on the train I had the coverage of the bid up on my laptop along with the feed on my iphone. I was covered. The train wasn’t going anywhere fast anyway. Half an hour before the winner was announced I heard from an inside source that Qatar had won 2022 and that Russia had won 2018.
Not in any way to degrade Qatar or Russia but I honestly thought my source was messing about. He wasn’t. When I heard the official announcement from Sepp Blatter I stood up and shouted ‘What a scandal’. Maybe I shouldn’t say that but it was my initial reaction.
I then realised I was being stared at by every single person on the train. I then did my job without the cameras of course and told the whole train carriage, everybody looked gutted, it was really sad.
A big debate then started between me and a group of fellow stranded travellers. It is funny how normally in debates and football there is always a mixture of opinion and always disagreement. This time the consensus was the same, we weren’t blaming the media, the bid team or even the violence that broke out at the Birmingham game the night before. We all blamed FIFA.
I have actually met Sepp Blatter a few times, and once sat next to him at a football celebration dinner. I have to admit he was thoroughly charming and seemed such a fan of our football nation. Of course though the FIFA president wants to leave a legacy behind and shape the history of the international game by pushing boundaries.
It was never going to be England 2018. No matter what bid we put forward or whether our media would have painted roses over the FIFA delegates.
It was always going to be Russia. Congratulations to them. I have a few Russian friends and their reaction to the winning announcement was almost ‘that’s nice.so anyway what’s for tea?’. My new theory now though is that we didn’t get 2018 because England is going to take over the 2014 World Cup from Brazil.
The concerns over Brazil were suddenly highlighted yesterday; the struggle to complete the venues and regeneration, the criminal gangs and 2 million Rio residents in shanty towns. Does this sound familiar? Oh yes this is exactly what was publicised in the build up to South Africa.
As much as my heart wants desperately to see a World Cup in this country in the near future, my head is saying Brazil will happen and it should happen. Just like South Africa, Brazil has its problem but I’m lucky enough to have experienced both countries and the love and passion from the people needed to host a World Cup is there in bucket loads. Brazil will be amazing.
As for us, we will just have to win the World Cup in Brazil and defend our title in Russia. Sounds like a plan to me.
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