It was the right decision to abstain in the Fifa presidential elections, but such a pity that the Football Association had to do so with a whimper and not a roar.
The unfortunate timing of the FA's inquiry into Lord Triesman's allegations about the corruption of Fifa executive committee (ExCo) members means that FA chairman David Bernstein will have to keep his powder dry until a week today when James Dingemans QC reports.
One suspects that Mr Dingemans' hourly fees are not cheap and the FA will hope that he comes up with something good for them to get their teeth into. Bernstein is not a natural attack dog – to give him credit, Triesman was always good value when it came to putting the boot in – and he would not go for Fifa without being completely sure of his position.
But even though the FA has held back from outlining its key reasons for voting "none of the above" on 1 June, there are infuriating aspects of that 2018-2022 World Cup finals vote in December that still merited a mention – with or without Dingemans' report.
For instance, how was it that the English bid garnered the highest scores in the economic and operational assessments carried out on bidding nations for Fifa by an independent body – yet it received just one non-English ExCo vote? Qatar was deemed "high-risk" in its assessment because of its yet-to-be-built facilities as well as its heat, yet in the 2022 race it thrashed Australia, which had much better Fifa ratings.
The pragmatists on the FA board – and that is the polite name for them – who argued that the FA should put its grudges behind it, take the humiliation and cosy up with Fifa again got it wrong. Who needs to build bridges when England will not be bidding again until the 2030 tournament at the very least? By then, the likes of Blatter, Jack Warner and Nicolas Leoz will be long gone.
There is plenty of time for English football to make up with Fifa and lots of good reasons for our football administrators to seek to play a full and active role in the organisation. But not now and certainly not with the current cast of largely unsavoury characters who make up the ExCo.
These are old men, who only insisted the voting for two World Cup finals should take place at the same time so they could get their noses in the trough for one last bonanza. Hopefully the next generation will be different and the FA will never again have to consider an abstention in a Fifa presidential election.
Bidding wars: How the World Cup voting saga unfolded
17 May 2009
Qatar officially announce bid to host the 2022 tournament, led by Mohamed Bin Hammam, going up against Australia, US, Japan and South Korea.
17 October 2010
The Sunday Times claims two members of Fifa's executive committee offered to sell their votes. Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii provisionally suspended over the allegations.
Adamu and Temarii banned from voting in ballots and suspended for three and one years respectively after inquiry.
Bin Hammam rejects England 2018 bid and pledges support to Spain/Portugal.
Qatar win right to host 2022. England get two votes as Russia win 2018 vote.
2 January 2011
Fifa president Sepp Blatter announces plans to set up anti-corruption committee.
Bin Hammam announces intention to stand against Blatter for presidency.
Lord Triesman alleges four exco members sought bribes in return for backing England's 2018 bid. The Sunday Times reveals further findings, claiming Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma took bribes from the Qatari bid.
FA says it will abstain from next month's Fifa president vote. Whistleblower asked to provide evidence.
FA report into 2018 bid corruption due.
Fifa presidential vote to take place.Reuse content