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Are England And The USA FIFA’s Contingency Plan?

The dust is just beginning to settle on a week that could forever change the footballing world. The decisions to send the 2018 and 2022 World Cup’s to Russia and Qatar has left a sour taste amongst all the unsuccessful bidders. But was FIFA’s snubbing of bids from England and the USA all part of a contingency conspiracy theory?

Speculation is starting to mount that FIFA declined proposals from England and the USA, in a bid to ensure the two countries with the most impressive footballing infrastructure could be free to host a tournament if one of the upcoming hosts fails to live up to the promises in their bid.

Premier League chairman Richard Scudamore has added further fuel to the rumours. Speaking after learning the true extent of England’s failure in the bidding process, Scudamore said: “What’s gone against us is not having to build 20 new stadia. It almost feels as if we are on standby for when somebody can’t host it. “

While both Russia and Qatar come with obvious risks, it is said to be the 2014 World Cup in Brazil causing FIFA the most concern. The South American nation were awarded the tournament in 2007 but since then progress on the building work of the 12 stadiums has been slow.

But it is the countries infrastructure which is creating real problems. The vast land of Brazil means that air-travel is the only feasible way for visitors to travel between the host cities, but there have been massive delays in the improvement of Brazil’s air travel.

Speaking last week. International Air Transport Association chairman Giovanni Bisignani warned that if Brazil didn’t begin plans to improve its airports then tournament could be a “national embarrassment.”

Bisignani said: “I don’t see much progress and the clock is ticking. We must get all the stakeholders to the table and finalize a plan.” The views were echoed by Brazilian World Cup winning captain Carlos Alberto who was far from happy after waiting seven hours for a flight from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro.

Alberto said: “That can’t happen at the World Cup. It is really shameful what is happening with the airports, our expectations are great. We need to deliver the best World Cup but we have to speed up with the preparations because we are a little slow.”

If FIFA was to pull the plug on Brazil 2014, it would certainly open a door to either England or the USA, who are the only countries that could host a tournament at short notice. It must be said that this is highly unlikely, but the last week has shown just how laughable FIFA is as an organisation and you certainly wouldn’t rule out another conspiracy theory.

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  1. Efrain

    December 6, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Would countries go as far as boycotting the 2022 World Cup? I can see Russia getting it, but Qatar, that is just insane. It would be wild if someone had the guts to stand up and boycott. To just say, we will not play in the 2022 WC. If a country like England did that, maybe Australia and USA and more follow. If big countries stood together in this injustice, FIFA would have no choice but to do a re-vote. That, or have a World Cup full of countries that only got into WC because the big ones, the great ones with great soccer, are not there. What a mess that would be! This would show FIFA just because they have all the power, they cannot get away with what they have done. They have no power if there is no one to control and listen to them.

  2. Tifosi

    December 6, 2010 at 6:33 am

    FIFA clearly stated at the very beginning of this process that countries must have the highest standard of infrastructure to host the tournament.

    The fact they went with the two countries that had the least amount of infrastructure in place tells you that they have no idea what they are doing.

    After the near debacle that was Sth Africa, Brazil with the same issues and probably in an even worse state than Sth Africa, likewise for Poland and Ukraine for euro 2012, it baffles me why FIFA didnt give these to England and the USA.

    Its what they wanted in the first place.

    • The Gaffer

      December 6, 2010 at 6:39 am

      Tifosi, it’s simple. The Times of London is reporting that a whistle blower has stepped forward claiming FIFA voters sold votes for as much as $1.5 million each. Also, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that a former member of Qatar’s bid team revealed that a payment of almost $80 million was suggested to be made to Argentina to help secure the vote of Argentine FIFA voter Julio Grondona.

      The Gaffer

      • Patrick

        December 6, 2010 at 7:11 am

        Expect more stories like this, but will it ever bring down Sepp?

        I hope so, but doubt it.

      • Pakapala

        December 6, 2010 at 9:24 am

        For what it’s worth it’s been reported by some reporter that Sepp Blater was against the Qatar bid. We have to understand that FIFA is not just Blater, and that he (Blater) does not always gets his way. But that’s beside the point that I wanted to make.

        If we think that stories like the ones coming out now will bring Blater down, or that if Blater steps down that everything will be fine at FIFA, then we are truly delusional. This is business as usual for FIFA, it’s been that way since the 60s and 70s when TV money took over the game, if not before. What baffles me is not the decision of December 2, but that people either are truly shocked or are pretending to be shocked, and want us to believe that it’s now that the game has taken a turn for the worst. Where were those outcries when the previous bids (which make no mistake about it, went down just in the same manner)were announced? When are we going to learn the amount of money that the US bid group and the England bid group offered to the committee members? When are we going to learn how England secured the vote of the CAF president (who got exposed by Panorama a few days earlier)? When are we going to learn how much money they promised Jack Warner, when they admitted themselves that they thought they had Jack Warner and 3 other votes bought?

        Let’s come out with the bribes that went on but not just that of the winners, all of them! We all knew this is how the game is played but we’re supposed to be outraged because some inferior groups (Russia, Qatar) outbidded the traditional 2 powers that be (England, USA)? Had those 2 won on Thursday, would we be hearing about how they went on to buy the votes? I doubt it.

  3. Lyle

    December 6, 2010 at 1:21 am

    Germany is the back up plan.

  4. Shaun

    December 6, 2010 at 1:17 am

    If you are using Google Reader and Firefox and you are having problems with your RSS feed, you should check out the Better GReader add on in Firefox. There is a preview option that lets you view whole articles in Google Reader. I am pretty sure Chrome and Safari have similar extensions.

  5. Dave C

    December 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I doubt that Brazil will really fail to be ready in time for the WC. The same kind of rumours seem to fly around prior to many international tournaments (S Africa WC, Greek Olympics, etc etc), but everything works out OK in the end.

    And I think it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine FIFA were holding the US “in reserve” just in case they need a contingency plan. That’s like saying if you needed a lawyer, you’d hire a crappy one just so you could keep a good one “on standby” in case the crappy one screwed up. You would just appoint the good one in the first place.

  6. Patrick

    December 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    People said the same thing about the South African bid in the two years following Germany, and we all know how that turned out.

    While the USA and England would be contenders based on stadiums and infrastructure, hardly means they’d get the cup. In fact, I’d see Italy or France getting it before England as a back up plan.

    England and the USA don’t carry the voting power to get the Cup, let alone exert any influence on the voting powers. And by that I mean they do not have to power to keep Sepp in power, so they will be maligned until there is new leadership.

    • Lyle

      December 6, 2010 at 1:26 am

      Italy? You’re kidding right? Horrible stadium infrastructure. Germany, Britain or Spain are Europe’s best countries at the moment. Belgium/Netherlands would be okay too.

  7. DP3

    December 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Not really the same thing but I remember reading about the Women’s World Cup in 2003 having to be moved at the last minute and it was played in the US. So there is some precedent for this, though I’d be shocked if they take the WC from Brazil.

    • john l

      December 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm

      So all the US needs is another SARS level panic in any of those countries and it gets the world cup. Wooo!

  8. jon sharp

    December 5, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I believe it is inconceivable that FIFA would switch the world cup away from Brazil. Though FIFA may make some noises to create a sense of urgency, I have never heard of a case where a country has been stripped of a major sporting event of this nature due to lack of preparedness (has anyone?) The recent Commonwealth Games in India came pretty close but they still managed it despite everything not being quite finished. Brazil has proven itself to be a dynamic & resourceful economy over the last decade. They may have to pay a lot of overtime, but I am confident they will make it happen.

    • Pakapala

      December 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      Columbia in 1986. They admitted to FIFA in 1983 that they would not be ready on time. An emergency bid was needed, which led to the first time the executive committee of FIFA voted for a bid. The candidates were Canada, USA, Mexico.

      • jon sharp

        December 5, 2010 at 4:03 pm

        Thanks – I stand corrected.

        • Dave C

          December 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm

          I think the problems with Colombia were due to an earthquake though (although I might be wrong), so it would be quite an exceptional situation.

          • Pakapala

            December 5, 2010 at 5:52 pm

            Not at all Dave C, the reasons were purely ecnomics: by the start of the 80s, Columbia’s economy was going south and the rise of the drug cartels (violence, kidnapping were on the rise) did not help. By 1983, it was painfully obvious that the WC plan was severely behind scheduled and Columbia officially conceded to FIFA they will not be able to host it.
            The earthquake you are referring to actually struck Mexico (1985) after they had been rewarded the WC. Amazingly they still manage to make it happen.

          • Dave C

            December 5, 2010 at 8:23 pm

            Oh right. Guess I was way off base.

  9. Amber

    December 5, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I have a cousin that lives about an hour outside of Sao Paulo. This summer, she said that the stadium that is supposed to be built there has yet to break ground. She also said that some of the media and most of the people that she has talked to are worried that FIFA will take the WC way from Brazil since they are not hitting the target date for construction.

    Could be just a conspiracy theory, but if FIFA does take the WC away from Brazil, it would make sense for them to give it to a country that already has all the necessary infrastructure to take over.

    • Earl Reed

      December 5, 2010 at 1:15 pm

      Let’s take the opposite approach and then question why FIFA, if they have already begun to feel the bite of an unprepared host, decided to give the 2022 Cup to Qatar? Of course, they may have figured that an extra 5 years would give Qatar ample time to prepare the venues.

      But you can’t blame FIFA if they strip Brazil of hosting, if it’s as behind schedule as your cousin indicates. They still have a couple of years to pick up the pace though.

      • Pakapala

        December 5, 2010 at 3:17 pm

        “Let’s take the opposite approach and then question why FIFA, if they have already begun to feel the bite of an unprepared host, decided to give the 2022 Cup to Qatar? Of course, they may have figured that an extra 5 years would give Qatar ample time to prepare the venues.”

        Exactly the problems of South Africa and Brazil being behind schedule pushed them to think that they need to give countries that have to build to get the WC ample time. That’s why I always though the US had little chance of winning 2022 and they should have concentrated on 2018. The fact that they voted 2022 so soon already shows that it would go to a country that would have a lot of work to do leading up to the WC. The US had no chance in 2022, except as a backup plan.

        Also, in light of the news that the CAN president who was “exposed” in Panorama was the other vote that England got, can’t we assume that they lost another vote when FIFA suspended the african member that the Sunday Mail exposed?

  10. Football Souvenirs

    December 5, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Quite possibly they are looking at contingencies and it woudl be silly not to. Sending it back to USA woudl be infair seeing as they had it in 94 though

  11. Up_the_Chels

    December 5, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I’ve always wondered why FIFA use the “if you build it, we will come” mentality. Why not adopt the opposite approach, whereby only countries who have the necessary stadia, transportation infrastructure and hotels are given the opportunity to bid. If you then don’t meet said guidelines, you’re out. Seems like since 06′, FIFA is constantly rolling the dice.

  12. John

    December 5, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Why has EPL Talk stripped its RSS feed of content? Sorry to say I’ll be unsubscribing. Read up on The Guardian’s experiments with RSS feeds, and how providing full content actually generates more page views than partial content feeds!

    • The Gaffer

      December 5, 2010 at 9:58 am

      John, The Guardian is one of the very few sites that still continue to provide the entire article in the RSS feed. The vast majority of soccer-related sites include an excerpt instead of the full post.

      Can you provide me with a link to The Guardian’s research that you mentioned above? I’ll definitely review it and will reconsider.

      The Gaffer

      • Phenoum

        December 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm

        yup, in the same boat here. Not to mention that I use firefox on my desktop so there’s no ad revenue anyhow. Mobile-optimised ad at the top/bottom of the feed would be better for you than the cop-out ‘click through’ method

    • jseabold

      December 5, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Yeah, I’ll be unsubscribing as well. I use a feed reader on a mobile during my commute and having to click through is a deal breaker. I subscribe to about 18 soccer blogs and all provide the article in the feed.

      • The Gaffer

        December 5, 2010 at 12:19 pm

        Jseabold, the main reason we’ve begun including an excerpt instead of the full post in the RSS feed is because we’ve had an issue with dozens of websites scraping our content from the RSS feed and posting it on their site as their own and placing ads around it.

        Let me go ahead and put the RSS feed back to the way it was before where the entire post is provided, but in the meantime I’ll look for a different solution if I can.

        The Gaffer

        • jseabold

          December 5, 2010 at 12:22 pm

          Yikes. So that’s why. Fair enough if you feel you need to protect your content.

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