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PR guru Mike Lee slates England 2018 World Cup bid


What went wrong with England's 2018 bid?

England's attempt to win the right to stage the 2018 World Cup has been slated by a public relations expert who was behind Qatar's victorious 2022 bid.

While Qatar was given the 2022 World Cup, England lost out in the 2018 race with only two first-preference votes.

"This England bid campaign was not Premier League, it was relegation and League One," said bid expert Mike Lee.

"I'm not sure it is healthy to blame everyone else, and not reflect on the campaign itself," added the Englishman.

Lee has previously worked on Brazil's winning bid to host the 2016 Olympics as well as the 2012 London Games.

While England's technical bid and its presentation to Fifa last week was widely praised, Lee focused attention on key figures within the bid team and its inability to forge alliances both at home and abroad.

Sunderland-born Lee was particularly damning of the appointment of Football Association chairman Lord Triesman as chairman of the bid.

Triesman resigned from both positions in May in the wake of a newspaper article that claimed he suggested Spain could drop its 2018 bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at the 2010 World Cup.


Russia ended up winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup following a vote by Fifa's 22 executive members in Zurich on Thursday.

"It was clear to everybody that Lord Triesman was not the right choice," added Lee.

"He was not popular among his fellow colleagues here in English football. He was terribly unpopular in international football and for nearly 60% of the campaign we were hampered.

"As you look back from the choice of the wrong bid leader in the first instance through to alienating the Premier League and a series of PR own goals, it has not been a success.

"A lot was made at the beginning of how it was not going to repeat the mistakes of 2006 but it actually repeated many of those mistakes and even ended up with three fewer votes, and only half as many as Holland and Belgium."

After exonerating bid international president David Dein as well as England 2018 ambassadors David Beckham, Sir Keith Mills and Lord Coe from blame with regards to the bid, Lee then urged the FA to appoint former Arsenal vice-chairman Dein as its chairman.

"This is an opportunity to appoint someone who knows the game at both club and national team level and also has experience of the international football environment.

"In my view David Dein does have all of those credentials and I do think he would make an ideal candidate."

Lee also suggested the FA cultivate contacts within Fifa and Uefa by taking more of an interest in hosting youth and women's tournaments.

"We must develop a much more international outlook to the way we work in terms of Uefa and Fifa," argued Lee.

"It might also be smart to sign up David Beckham as an international ambassador and work with him to explore what role he could play once his playing career is over.

"He has shown in helping both London 2012 and this campaign that he represents his country with real dignity."

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see also
FA adds to calls for Fifa changes
05 Dec 10 |  Football
Mayor cancels Fifa's hotel stay
05 Dec 10 |  London
Anson floats Fifa reform proposal
04 Dec 10 |  Football
FA chief to quit in Fifa protest
04 Dec 10 |  Football
Redknapp baffled by Fifa decision
03 Dec 10 |  Football
England 2018 bid 'sunk by media'
03 Dec 10 |  Football
England bid boss fumes at voting
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Russia & Qatar to host World Cups
02 Dec 10 |  Football
England miss out in 2018 Cup vote
02 Dec 10 |  Football

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