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Thursday 8 December 2016

FIFA members cite media as issue

Published 03/12/2010 | 15:26

England's 2018 World Cup campaign was killed by broken promises to a prince and a prime minister - but FIFA members today continued to insist the British media were to blame.

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Marios Lefkaritis, the FIFA executive member from Cyprus, said the feedback from other members was that the media investigations had been a factor - something the England bid leaders deny.



Lefkaritis told Bloomberg: "In the beginning I thought not, but after the experience I got from other members yesterday, then I have to say definitely yes.



"If they [the bid] think they did not, then they are stupid and naive."



England bid chief executive Andy Anson said as many as five or six of the FIFA members had promised their vote in meetings with Prince William, David Cameron, David Beckham and bid officials only to break those guarantees.



Anson said: "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.



"My only issue with the Sunday Times and more the BBC Panorama was the timing of it - it was almost impossible to bounce back.



"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.



"We thought on the upside we would get seven or eight but not that five or six would leave us, that's quite a big percentage of the ones we had been promised."



Among those thought to have given their assurances include FIFA vice-president Jack Warner of Trinidad, who voted as part of a three-man bloc with the United States and Guatemala members.



Anson said: "I think they probably did vote as a bloc, but not for us sadly."



Another broken promise came from Turkey's Senes Erzik, a long-time friend of FIFA member Geoff Thompson. Yesterday morning the England bid received information from the Foreign Office that Turkish diplomatic sources had said Erzik would not support England.



Thompson asked him for assurances just an hour before the vote, and received them. Afterwards, Erzik said merely: "It was nothing personal, just business."



Those who emerged with more credit were African president Issa Hayatou who apparently did honour his pledge, Japan's Junji Ogura, who explained before the vote he had agreed to vote instead for Holland/Belgium, and even FIFA president Sepp Blatter who made no secret of his support for the eventual winners Russia.



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