Media killed bid, Fifa tell England bid chief Andy Anson

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The Independent Online

Defeated England bid chief Andy Anson today admitted there is no point in the country bidding again until FIFA change - and revealed Sepp Blatter had spoken to members of the "evils of the media" just before they voted.

Russia triumphed yesterday as England were knocked out in the first round with just two votes.

Some FIFA members are blaming BBC Panorama and Sunday Times investigations for a backlash against England - and Anson says that was referred to by Blatter in his final speech to the 22-man executive committee just before the vote.

Asked if he would advise England to bid again Anson told a news conference in Zurich: "I would say right now don't bother until you know that the process is going to change to allow bids like ours [a chance] to win.

"When you have the best technical bid, fantastic inspection visits, the best economic report, and, from what people told us, the best presentation, it's quite hard to stomach that all that seemed to count for absolutely nothing.

"Having only 22 guys only voting gives them too much influence. Running two bids together was clearly a huge mistake. Everyone who had a vote and a bid clearly wanted to trade that vote for something that helped them get over the line in that campaign.

"Australia had a very good bid and they got one vote, we had a very good bid and we got two, the USA had an unbelievably strong technical bid and got three. Six votes in the first round between those three, there's something not quite right.

"You have to open it up to all member associations and have transparency and open voting so everyone knows who voted for whom.

"With 22 guys having so much power it becomes very, very difficult."

Anson said he had been told that FIFA president Blatter had spoken to members of the "evil of the media" just before the vote.

He added: "I think that was unhelpful - the last thing those guys hear before they go and tick the box is the evil of the media. That is not helpful and actually inaccurate.

"I was told by someone who was in the room that that's the last thing they were told by Sepp Blatter. There was a final sum-up before they voted and I think it was at the beginning of that. That's not helpful to our cause."

Anson admitted that the defeat was hard to stomach and he felt let down.

He said: "I still find it hard to understand what happened.

"I'm not going to beat around the bush - individual members promised to vote for us and didn't clearly.

"That's difficult to stomach when they have given you assurances.

"They are saying to us that our media killed us but I don't believe that for one minute, but that's what we are being told.

"Russia did a lot of last-minute lobbying and votes appeared to switch at the last minute - we know some switched in the early hours of the morning.

"We were not naive though we knew that could happen and David Dein and Simon Greenberg stayed up [lobbying] until 5am."

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