The Last Word: I would enjoy watching the English suffer

Fifa executives are used to being treated with the utmost respect, so what chance have the FA got?

If I was a voting member of Fifa, I'd tell the FA where to stick their "England United, The World Invited" nonsense next week. "It's our ball," I'd say to them. "And we're going home (or at least to Moscow)."

Well, why shouldn't I? The English and their damned free press have made this blessed organisation look like a bunch of self-serving rotters. One of their newspapers tricked a few of the executive into asking for backhanders, and their state-funded TV channel are determined to run a remake of the ghosts of corruptions past just three days before Fifa decide the hosts for their 2018 and 2022 spectaculars. Are they mad?

This wouldn't be like turkeys voting for Christmas, it would be like the banks voting for the Socialist Workers' Party. It wouldn't bother me one bit that the FA or the government have no control over England's media. The World Cup is bestowed on an entire nation, not on a few bid chiefs or a couple of oily politicians. In my eyes, England, and their pious free-speaking principles, would have blown it. They would have dared to show Fifa disrespect.

How stupid, how naïve. Don't they know who they're dealing with here? These people are important. They must be; just see the way they are treated, are fêted. They go over to the bidding nations to check that the stadiums have plush enough hospitality boxes and on their way are granted police escorts to the finest eateries and most sumptuous hotels. They are invited to 10 Downing Streets and White Houses and Red Squares to meet the heads of state. It is David Cameron who feels obliged to appear honoured when pictured with Fifa's president, Sepp Blatter. Not vice versa.

No, these are the decision-makers, the men who will be reaching verdicts of much greater significance than whether Morocco play Belgium in Bristol or Bilbao. As President Blatter declared the other day: "2 December is going to be an important day, not just for football but for international politics." Did you hear that? "International politics." That's big stuff, far bigger than Australia versus Mexico being staged in Milton Keynes or Nizhny Novgorod.

"We have nine bids and they will send prime ministers, heads of government and high-ranking people in the field of politics," declared Blatter. They'll even send Prince William – a proper royal, for goodness' sake. As Putin bows and scrapes and King Juan Carlos kisses their hands, how could these football administrators think of themselves as anything less than hugely significant? I couldn't. It would be impossible to do so.

On leaving behind the local sports halls, where as a volunteer I would originally have begged for kit and balls, I would eventually have entered the marble corridors of Zurich and brushed up against figures like Blatter and Jack Warner. Once ordained, I would have recognised the manner in which such luminaries operate.

With Warner, the Fifa vice-president, I would have noted the way this former teacher built his wealth. I would have seen that he felt no shame in telling the Trinidad Guardian: "I began buying properties across Trinidad from the salary and allow-ances I received from Fifa. This made it easy for me to invest. I have had one or two good fortunes." I would also have witnessed Warner facing public censure from Fifa after being implicated in the selling of tickets for three times their face value at the 2006 World Cup; and then proceededto watch him flourish in the second- highest role in the association anyway. I would have realised that Fifa's ability to forgive was only rivalled by their capacity to forget.

Take the example of Jérôme Valcke. In December 2006, Blatter removed the Frenchman as the Fifa marketing director after a New York judge had condemned him for lying to two companies in sponsorship negotiations. "Fifa cannot possibly accept such conduct among its own employees," said Fifa. So what happened six months later, after an appeals court had remanded the case? Valcke was appointed Fifa's general secretary.

That's Fifa for you, and as a "made" representative I would have long understood the loyalty we display to our own. When Valcke announced the suspensions of the two executive committee members and four other officials last week – after the cash-for-votes allegations printed in a British broadsheet – I would have figured, "They'll be back". Who knows, they may even one day make it to even higher office. I would put nothing beyond Fifa's recovery powers.

That would comfort me, particularly as whispers of collusion between bidders swirled around the voting hall. I would look back at the trips I'd made at the bidders' immense expense and read the dozen or so blindingly obvious paragraphs that comprise the individual reports into the candidate countries' suitability and enjoy a little giggle to myself. What a gig! What a life!

But then, I would see some English fools probing and digging and mentioning words like "corruption" and I'd bristle. Rock the apple cart, would they? Fine, we'll roll it somewhere where it's appreciated. Where everyone fawns, where nobody questions, where they understand the preciousness of the gift in our grasp. Yes, I'd vote for someone else, and d'you know what? I'd take more satisfaction in seeing the English squirm than the Russians or Spaniards celebrate. Now there's power. That's the buzz I'd have been groomed to expect.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?