Arsene Wenger calls for World Cup voting reform

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger blasted FIFA's snub for England's World Cup bid as a decision from the "Middle Ages".

Wenger was an official supporter of the England 2018 bid and a video message from him was shown to FIFA committee members as part of yesterday's bid presentation.

But the Arsenal manager insists FIFA must now drag their decision-making process into the 21st century after England's bid received just two votes and Russia were awarded the tournament.

Wenger said: "I'm very sad because I supported that bid as much as I could.

"I am sad for the people who have a passion in England for football. I don't believe FIFA was conscious of how much it meant to people here. I watched as well how much the people worked for this bid and they put some unbelievable quality work in."

Wenger believes future World Cups must be allocated on a more scientific basis, taking in the relative merits of the technical bids.

He said: "It looked to me a little bit of a Middle Age way to decide. You would like to have much more technical criteria than human criteria.

"You could have 100 criteria for example with a different weight and you put that in a computer and the best comes out.

"It doesn't look right in modern life that people have to go over there and lobby and say 'please believe in us.' I would like to see it be more technical.

"You have to work in the modern life to get all suspicion out. Is the suspicion right or wrong I don't know, but you don't want a vote of that importance to be the subject of suspicion."

Wenger was mystified at how England could poll just two votes from the 22 FIFA members.

"I personally cannot understand that," said Wenger. "I was a great supporter of that bid. You have to take it on board and get on with it.

"It has not been played here for a long, long time and this country created the sport. That's why I say you should have 100 criteria, the technical, commercial, the fact that the country never had the competition before could be one of them and give them a different weight and decide.

"That criteria cannot be the only one that is taken into consideration before a decision of that magnitude is made. Russia is a good candidate and congratulations to them. But we all do not know why the England bid has failed so much."

On the effect of the media investigations into FIFA members, Wenger added: "Did it help? Certainly not."

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