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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Time for Blatter to act
Sepp Blatter
Blatter has his work cut out
The repercussions of the 2006 World Cup vote are still being felt around the world. BBC sports news correspondent Gordon Farqhuar examines the whole messy process.

It must have been with a sense of irony that the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter recently declared his intention to fight the growing interference of politics in football.

Having just witnessed at first hand the final days of the 2006 World Cup campaign, it would seem politics and football are perfect bedfellows.

Blatter wants to win concessions from the European Union over the more damaging effects of the Bosman ruling, but first he must surely overcome the coruscating effects of this World Cup vote.

Bid

So much for the idea that Fifa's executive committee members should award the event to the country that puts forward the best bid. If only it were that simple.

Here is how it really works:

The confederations who have a country or countries involved in the bid cannot be expected to vote elsewhere as long as one of them remains in the ballot.

Germany celebrate
Germany celebrate
Hence Germany had the unswerving support of 7 of the 8 Uefa members of the gang of 24.

They got Britain's representative, David Will, once the doomed English bid ground to a halt in the second round of voting.

The South Americans were all going to support Brazil, until it became clear Brazil could not win, and hence pulled out 48 hours before the crucial vote.

Those South American votes, courted by Germany and England, (remember the Wembley friendlies between Argentina and Brazil?) were then promised to South Africa in a reciprocal deal that would have guaranteed African support for Brazil in 2010.

Tactically

The Asians were expected to vote tactically - and they did.

Without their own bid to back, in theory, they were free agents, but they met on the eve of the vote and decided to support Germany as a block.

This was a major blow to South African hopes, and led to an alleged 5.30 am meeting on the day of the vote between Sepp Blatter the Asian ex-com members in an effort to get them to change their minds. (Blatter desperately wanted an African winner.)

South Africa were the big losers
South Africa were the big losers
The Asians, however, are not Blatter fans. They fell out over the allocation of places for 2002.

Asia wanted 5 places, and were given only 4. That effectively became 4and a half, when Uefa offered a play-off for the final place. The favour has been repaid.

The Concacaf votes stayed loyal with England, as promised, but a deal had been done there as well.

The three votes would remain with England, as long as the English could rustle up at least one other vote apart from David Will of Scotland, and Charles Dempsey of New Zealand, who had long declared their support:

Disappointed

The English bid team thought they had secured the Thai vote, (note schoolboy international against Thailand this week,) but they were disappointed.

Hence why England's five votes in the first round fell to just two in the second. Concacaf piled into South Africa as second preference.

With Morocco gone, and two of the three first-round Moroccan votes in South Africa's pocket, the ballot was extraordinarily close.

Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer was a key player
Indeed, had Charlie Dempsey not abstained, and voted for South Africa, it would have been a tie, at 12 each, with Blatter's casting vote going South Africa's way.

The explanation for Dempsey's abstention was that he had been put under intolerable personal pressure, by both sides.

He wanted England to win, and when they were knocked out he chose not to decide.

He told the Fifa executive of his intentions before the first round of voting, then left for home shortly afterwards, with the world's media in hot pursuit.

Threats

Why had he done this? Who had got to him? What were these dark threats he'd received?

Much explanation is needed, and only Dempsey holds all the answers.

The South Africans have appointed a lawyer to examine the whole voting process, to ensure it was properly carried out.

If a loophole can be found, they will call for a re-vote.

At present, Fifa are standing firm by the decision. A re-vote would be a huge embarrassment.

Bobby Charlton
Bobby Charlton worked tirelessly for England
One thing that can be guaranteed is that the selection process will now change as a result of this experience.

The Fifa executive will formally discuss the idea of rotating the event around the confederations, and I would be surprised if this time, the principle was not adopted.

At the very least, Fifa should demand only one candidate be put forward from each continent, a lesson that England has learned the hard way.

Chance

If you have not got the full support of your own confederation, you have not got a chance.

England's bid had two further problems: the alleged gentleman's agreement not to bid against Germany wouldn't go away; and English influence on the major Uefa and Fifa committees has been allowed to wither away.

The FA have finally acknowledged one of the great mantras of politics that it is not what you know, but who you know that counts. Just ask Franz Beckenbauer.

See also:

12 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
09 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
10 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | Africa
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