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Thursday, 6 July, 2000, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Sir Bobby: We should be proud
Tony Banks
Football envoy Tony Banks will need a new job
Former England World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton says the country should be proud of its failed bid to host the 2006 World Cup.

England was eliminated from the contest in the second round, winning two votes as opposed to 11 each for Germany and South Africa.


We have to start getting people in positions of influence
Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby, a key figure in the campaign team, said the 10m had not been wasted and England's hopes of hosting a World Cup had progressed.

He said England had faced insurmountable problems and could learn lessons for the future.

"We have to start getting people in positions of influence, that is one problem," he said.

"Add that to the hooligan, add it to the deal between the South Americans and the South Africans, add it to the inspection report and you would say how did you finish up with five points?"

Anti-British claims

But fellow England World Cup winner George Cohen described the failure as humiliating.

Mr Cohen told BBC News 24: "I am surprised it was only two votes we should get. I thought our presentation was absolutely superb. We have been called arrogant, but I cannot think of anyone less arrogant than Bobby Charlton.
Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton: 10m has not been wasted
"I just think it is a huge amount of politicking going on. Unfortunately we are not represented in Uefa or Fifa. We should be represented, we are a huge footballing nation. It is absurd.

"There may be a lot of anti-British bias. This is a humiliation for us, I think our bid was superb.

"Our campaign cost 10m but if we had won this it was worth hundreds of millions to us."

He said he was not surprised that Germany had won the contest, saying they had conducted a successful whispering campaign.

"But I don't think their bid was any better than ours."

'Ill-conceived' bid

Peter Beardsley, assistant England team coach and former player, said Germany was the right choice if England was out of the running.

"Having missed out ourselves, they are the only competition to us in terms of stadiums and facilities," he said.

"Had it been a straight choice between us and Germany, I would have thought we would be on a par with them."

Mr Beardsley said it was a little unfair if the trouble involving England fans in Charleroi had influenced the decision.

Sports Minister Kate Hoey said England had a great disadvantage, as Uefa was backing Germany.

"It would be silly to blame hooliganism," she said. "It gave some people an excuse not to vote for us, who weren't probably going to vote for us anyway."

"There will be recriminations as to why Uefa was not backing England, we've had no influence in football international bodies for a very long time. We've got to get that back."

Harry Harris, sports writer for The Mirror, told BBC News Online: "There were no surprises. I would be here all night telling you all the reasons for failure.

"The bid was pretty ill-conceived from the start. The earliest we could get the World Cup now would be 2022, when David Beckham will be 47."

See also:

05 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
05 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
05 Jul 00 | Africa
04 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
05 Jul 00 | Scotland
04 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
04 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
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