FA reveal cost of failed World Cup bid

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England's failed 2018 World Cup bid cost £21million - some £6million more than had been widely reported, according to the latest Football Association accounts.

The bid for the tournament ended in disaster last December, attracting only two Fifa members' votes including that of British Fifa vice-president Geoff Thompson.

The FA accounts have for the first time provided details on the total spending and income of the bid. They show that although net spending was £14million, the total expenditure over two years was £21million. The spending was offset by some public money - local authorities from bidding cities provided £2.5million - plus a further £4.5million coming from sponsors.

Until now it had been thought the expenditure on the bid had been £15million, including the public money. That was also the sum mentioned by sports minister Hugh Robertson last week at the Leaders in Football conference in London.

Robertson said he regretted the money that had been spent on the 2018 bid because Fifa had been intent on taking the World Cup to new territories.

The minister said: "When I look back on it now, I wish we had the gumption or the knowledge to realise at a very early stage that Fifa wanted something fundamentally different than what we were putting on the table.

"I wish we had had foresight to appreciate that earlier in order to stop the investment of £15million."

England's spending per vote won was the worst of any bidding country apart from Australia, who spent £28million on their 2022 campaign and won just a single vote.

The FA accounts also show that overall turnover dropped in 2010 by £5million to £304million, mainly due to the effect of the collapse of the TV broadcaster Setanta in 2009, which cost the FA £8million in income last year.

Overall however, there were signs that the FA's finances are working efficiently with the organisation returning profit after tax of £9million compared to a £3million loss in 2009.

"This has enabled the group to increase its reserves for the first time since 2006," says the annual report.

The FA's total cash balances increased by £10million during the year and now stand at £75million.

Income from the Club Wembley scheme dropped by £5million to £60million, and income from events at Wembley fell by £6million to £12million due to fewer events being staged. Despite England's disappointing display at the 2010 World Cup the FA earned £7million in prize money from the tournament in South Africa.

The FA made significant savings by cutting the amount it invests in the game by £5million, with grants to the Football Foundation cut by £3million compared to 2009.

Other cuts included £3million from FA Cup television payments to clubs and prize money. The closure of the FA's final salary pension scheme saved a further £2million.