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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

Day of disappointment

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England's failure to become host nation for the 2018 World Cup is disappointing.   Receiving only two votes and being eliminated on the first round is even more so.   Despite the optimism emanating from the English camp on the day, I was not surprised that England didn't win.   I was surprised that Russia did, although perhaps I shouldn't have been.  I was even more surprised that we finished behind Belgium and the Netherlands.


From my own experience of international organisations, I know that these things are rarely decided by the presentation on the day.   People have made their minds up beforehand.  Assurances of support should not been taken at face value.   Prime minister Putin's decision not to come to Zurich before the vote should have been a warning sign.


This is not the time for the blame game and I believe that the bid team and David Beckham, David Cameron and Prince William did the best.   If we had known beforehand that Fifa's priority was to bring football to new locations, we might not have bothered to spend £15m.


Australia is understandably aggrieved at getting only one vote for 2022 and President Obama was not pleased to see the United States ranked behind Qatar which will certainly be a unique setting.


One comment coming out of Fifa was that the frequent changes at the top of the FA did not help us.  That may just have been an alibi, but the Coalition Government will have to return to the question of FA governance at some point.