NewsFeed touched upon last Friday’s soccer World Cup bids in Switzerland. This was where the competing nations made their case to governing body FIFA in the hope of being awarded the 2018 honor of hosting. But nobody saw this coming.
England’s chairman of the Football Association, and 2018 bid team, Lord Triesman, resigned Sunday after an undercover tape-recorded conversation emerged in which he alleged that Spain and Russia (two of England’s main bidding rivals) were planning to bribe referees at this year’s World Cup in South Africa. Listen to what Triesman has described as “entrapment” by the Mail on Sunday newspaper here and here.
Where this leaves England’s chances of winning the bid this December is anyone’s guess. The Motherland of soccer had been firm favorites to host the World Cup for the first time since 1966, when they lifted the trophy for the only time in their history. Triesman’s blunder might well be fatal, especially as it comes on the back of a series of setbacks, such as the handing out of Mulberry handbags to delegates’s wives and being told that their bid was “lightweight” by FIFA’s Vice President Jack Warner. But Triesman’s heavyweight claims could be the ultimate own goal.