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2006 World Cup decision Friday, 7 July, 2000, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
FA left to pick up pieces
Uefa president Lennart Johansson
Johansson is one of the most powerful men in football
By BBC Sport Online's Alex Perry

England's failed bid to win the nomination to host the 2006 World Cup has been condemned as misguided from the start and an extraordinary waste of 10m.

Germany's ultimate victory over favourites South Africa demonstrates where the power is held within the global game.

Europe is still the political stronghold of world football - so for England to contemplate making a bid without the backing of the continent's governing body, Uefa, was fundamentally flawed.

There is no doubting that England have the facilities and infrastructure to host a wonderful World Cup, but it was naive of the Football Association to believe that just being capable and being the "home of football" was enough, without playing the political game.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter
Blatter's Fifa presidency could be under threat
And the main problem seems to be that the game started four years before England even took the field.

That was when Germany decided they would run for 2006 - apparently safe in the knowledge that they had the backing of the FA after the Germans had supported England's bid to host Euro 96.

Whether England reneged on an agreement or not, the stigma never went away and the Uefa delegates sided with the Germans.

Without a representative on the Uefa committe, England had no one to fight their battles on the inside.

But England only made matters worse for themselves when they decided to switch their support from Uefa president Lennart Johansson to eventual winner Sepp Blatter in the vote for Fifa president.

Blatter may pay the price

Blatter had already committed himself to a World Cup in Africa - indeed that was one of the main tenets of his running campaign in order to gain the support of the African voters.

Now, having failed to deliver, Blatter may himself pay the price when he comes up for re-election in 2002.

And that situation demonstrates how political the global game has become.

The Asian delegates of Fifa might normally have been expected to support an African World Cup bid to undermine the strength of Uefa.

FA chariman Geoff Thompson
Geoff Thompson is now on the Uefa committee
But their votes went to Germany - apparently to spite Blatter because he failed to deliver an extra berth for an Asian team at the 2002 World Cup finals.

Clearly the voting system is now a shambles. Candidates are not voting for who they think would make the best host - a fact amply demonstrated by Brazil's withdrawal at the last minute as they cut a deal with South Africa.

One solution is to adopt the proposal for the competition to rotate from continent to continent.

It seems that this may well happen and, if it does, England will have no chance of hosting the World Cup for at least another 26 years.

England may just have sorted their act out by then - Geoff Thompson's election to the Uefa committee is a start, but he has a lot of bridges to rebuild.

But clearly England need also to sort out their hooligan problem which added to the failure of their bid - and a huge test now looms six years down the line.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Mike Ingham
"An ill-conceived bid from the start"
See also:

07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
06 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
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