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Tuesday, 1 August, 2000, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Banks wanted to scrap 2006 bid
Tony Banks
Banks and the World Cup bid team leaving FIFA HQ
Former Sports Minister Tony Banks has revealed that he wanted England to pull out of the race to host the 2006 World Cup after losing crucial support following the embarrassing scenes of rioting England fans at Euro 2000.

Banks said he and bid committee chief Alec McGivan knew they were fighting a lost cause before the official voting took place in Zurich last month.

McGivan has appeared to contradict the statement, insisting the decision was unanimous.

He said: "I gave my assessment (to the FA) and that initial view was that the hooligan issue made it very unlikely we could attract enough votes to win.

"A whole range of options was discussed, including withdrawal, but it was unanimously decided to carry on until the vote."

The bid team, however, were persuaded to carry on by the Football Association, who did not want to be seen to be giving in to hooliganism.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, Banks said: "We just knew at that point (10 days before the vote), although there was an outside chance, to be absolutely realistic, we couldn't do it.


We wanted to withdraw but the FA said 'you've got to go on'
Tony Banks
"We wanted to withdraw but the FA said 'you've got to go on'.

Hooligans

"Because, and it's not an unreasonable line, you've got to go on because if you withdraw it'll be like surrendering to the hooligans - it'll be like the hooligans have forced us out."

Banks, a Labour MP, said the bid team agreed to proceed but knew they only had a remote chance of success.

Germany eventually won the right to host the 2006 World Cup by controversially beating South Africa in the final round of voting.

England, as Banks feared, were disqualified after the first round having gained only three of the 24 votes on offer.

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Tony Banks
on Radio 5 Live's Late Night Live with Brian Alexander
See also:

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