Friday 3 December 2010


£15 million seems to me like a generous budget to run an international soccer tournament but actually that was the amount spent just on England's bid for the World Cup which crashed and burned yesterday. I hear this morning on Radio 4 that the England bid team had failed to "do the necessary behind closed doors deals" whereas Russia (which, we learn from Wikileaks the same day, is seen by US diplomats as a "mafia state") evidently had done the necessary (wink wink).

Jim White sums it all up in the Telegraph this morning...

One of the most depressing things about the bid process this week was the way it corroded the moral fabric of those involved. To see our elected prime minister or future king obliged to apologise any more for our nation’s robust tradition of free speech to some unaccountable, self-appointed, tin-pot dictator would be too much to take. But now – breathe a sigh of relief across the nation – that will not happen.

I suppose £15m is small change compared with the £15 billion to be spent at the expense of charitable causes and tax-payers on a one week professional athletics event in 2012. Would it really be unpatriotic to back off from all this corrupt nonsense, leave the likes of FIFA and the International Olympic Committee to strike their shabby deals with their friends in totalitarian dictatorships (Germany 1936, China 2008, etc), and spend the money instead on playing fields - or perhaps on a progressive, client-run Welsh mental health organisation (which could be run for over 3,000 years for the price of the London Games)?

People are also wondering how Qatar, a small desert community mainly interested in camel-racing, managed to bag the subsequent World Cup. That is easily answered - the Emir sent the second of his three wives to speak to FIFA (see picture). With that competition it wouldn't have helped much even if Becks had brought Posh along.