Fifa criticised for failure to reveal 2018 thinking

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The Independent Online

Future Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has admitted England should have been told their bid to host the World Cup in 2018 was likely to end in failure.

Northern Irishman Boyce, who replaces Geoff Thompson on the Fifa executive committee in April, agreed with the accusation the English bid team were given false hope before losing out to Russia to stage the event in eight years' time.

Boyce said: "It did appear that England had the best bid. But it appears to me that Fifa wish to take the event to countries that haven't had it before. If this is their criteria then that should be made clear very early on.

"Russia were always favourites but the criteria needs to be set. I also don't think they should ever have two World Cup bids on the same date again."

Shortly after Russia were handed the 2018 tournament, it was revealed that Qatar would stage the event in 2022. Asked if having two host announcements on the same day could lead to vote trading, Boyce replied: "Of course, I don't think there is any doubt, human nature being what it is, that a lot of that probably went on. As long as they voted for the country they felt was the best country to host the World Cup then I have no problem with that.

"What I do have a problem with is when people say they are going to vote for a country and don't do that. People should be up front and honest and if they are going to vote for a country that's up to them but they shouldn't tell people they will go for them and then not do so."

Despite reservations over the voting process, Boyce will not be reconsidering his decision to join Fifa. "I have been in football a long time and it would be a big honour, not necessarily for me but for the Irish FA. And what I can say is that I will work diligently for all the British football associations and if I feel something needs to be said I will say it."

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