The Plastic Hippo

December 3, 2010

Three lions

Filed under: Sport — theplastichippo @ 11:42 pm

It is not coming home. It was never going to come home. It has gone forever. Even the corrupt 22 man FIFA committee realised that inviting England to host the football World Cup in 2018 would be a disaster. The grovelling of our three lions, Beckham, Cameron and Prince William, was a waste of time. In these strange days, economics rather than passion drives football and for many, vodka is preferable to Bovril.

The England bid was strong, but slick PR was no match for the need for FIFA to expand its market into uncharted territories. Russia, with one of the most corrupt governments on earth, is ripe with craggy babushkas longing to admire the thighs of Lionel Messi as they gather around televisions in humble yourts on barren, snow blasted steppes. In Qatar, a nation with about the same population as greater Birmingham and comprising of 90 per cent sand and 10 per cent oil, fans of camel racing and public stonings will flock to newly built stadia to watch football played in temperatures above 100 degrees refreshed by sweet, mint tea as alcohol will not be available. Given this overwhelming advantage, the three lions had no chance of influencing Sepp Blatter and the rest of the money grabbing crooks on the FIFA committee. FIFA, you see, hates England.

FIFA hates England for a number of reasons. England, being the nation that invented the game and then formalised the rules, is irksome to Herr Blatter and his greedy chums. We should also not forget that Henry II banned football in the 12th century because of its serious threat to life and limb and later the young Richard II continued the ban into the 14th century because it distracted his army from training and killing foreigners. In those early days of the beautiful game, footballs were the heads of rebellious Scots and Welshmen as celebrated in the now forgotten missing verse in the national anthem written during the Jacobite rebellion.

More important is the clout wielded by premiership club football. FIFA resent the commercial power of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and even the diminished brand that was once Liverpool. They hate the fact that child labourers, after a long day manufacturing tacky English football merchandise in far eastern sweat shops, rush to televisions showing a nil nil draw between Newcastle and Fulham. A quick look at the team sheet of the big clubs reveals that few players are natives of Moss Side, Hammersmith, Islington or Toxteth and are managed, and owned, by gentleman who impress by having English as a second language, including Sir Alex Ferguson. Football has not come home, it is beamed by satellite.

The England bid was also hampered by the bidding team itself. Giving designer handbags to the wives of FIFA committee members was not a clever tactic especially when Lord Triesman, then chairman of the Football Association, was forced to resign after suggesting that referees and, of all people, FIFA, were susceptible to bribery. Then, of course, there was the media. The Sunday Times produced evidence of corruption at the highest level of FIFA and the BBC aired a Panorama programme on the eve of the vote pointing out that FIFA executives are as bent as a nine bob note. So, if we ignore the world class stadia, the passion, the financial ability, the transport and accommodation infrastructure and the prospect of welcoming the world to Milton Keynes, the bid failed because of the British media who obsessed over corruption. In Russia, journalists who question the Mafia run state tend to be murdered and in Qatar?…well.

David Cameron spent most of week in Zurich lobbying the 22 gravy trainers only returning briefly to London to face PMQs as Clegg was mercifully protected and spared from the indignity of ridicule. Cameron deserves credit for his commitment in attempting to persuade the troughing 22 of the merits of the England bid. However, his government has cut funding to sport in schools and any child wishing to play football for England in 2018 will be the size and shape of Sepp Blatter by then.

Prince William proved that the English (possibly German) monarchy has little influence when it comes to corporate sponsorship of multinational companies wishing to break into new markets. Coca Cola and Nike need to shift product on the steppes and in the desert. David Beckham is married to a celebrity.

England won just two votes and one of them came from England. The humiliation endured by having a woeful national team is now matched with a woeful administration. Fielding the three lions has only damaged their own reputations and has to be seen as an own goal.

They think it’s all over…it is now.


1 Comment »

  1. […] comment on the front page Comment in brief 3 Dec 10 ThePlasticHippo Three Lions This page gets updated throughout the week YamYam links 21 – 25 Nov 10 ad Comment in […]

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