Tuesday 20 February 2018

Boyce calls for end to World Cup vote secrecy

Future FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has called for the secret vote for World Cups to be scrapped.

Boyce, from the North, is due to replace England's Geoff Thompson in May and he wants changes to the World Cup voting system.

England 2018 bid chiefs are still licking their wounds after being beaten by Russia last week and securing just two votes including Thompson's.

Former IFA president Boyce told Press Association Sport: "I don't think it should be a secret ballot - it should be an open ballot where no one has anything to hide.

"These are major decision for the game of football and I would have no problems with people being made to be accountable for the decisions they have taken.

"You want people to be open, straight and honest and I'm not saying they weren't, but it has happened to me before that you are told one thing and when a secret ballot takes place people do something else.

"I also think that when the next World Cup vote comes around that FIFA should not allow countries to go around spending massive amounts of money."

Boyce said he believed England had had the best technical bid and that FIFA should be clearer about what they are looking for.

He added: "There should be clear criteria - if they just want to take the World Cup to new parts of the world then make that one of the criteria.

"And never again should bidding for two World Cups take place simultaneously."

Meanwhile, Australia's 2022 bid advisor Peter Hargitay has said their biggest mistake was that "we played it clean".

Australia gained just one vote as Qatar triumphed, and Hargitay - who initially worked for the England bid before leaving after being asked by former chairman Lord Triesman to re-apply for his role - told SBS: "This will probably sound weird. The biggest mistake we made, and there was no other way, is that we played it clean."

He added: "Somebody sent me a very aggressive email calling me a loser. I said 'I didn't lose'. Football lost.

"What do you think motivates people? Fourteen of them voted for a country with a population the size of Zurich or Fiji where the infrastructure to play host to millions of fans still has to be created.

"How can 14 men take that decision? It wasn't a tight vote. It's 14 to eight. It's astounding."

Hargitay, however, believes England's bid leaders raised expectations too high in the final week after a catalogue of public relations disasters had affected the campaign over the previous two years.

"If you analyse the bid over two years then you realise things had not been that good," Hargitay told Press Association Sport.

"It was a valiant effort in the last week but expectations went overboard. You can't expect everything to change in the last few weeks."

England's bid had suffered through infighting with the Premier League and the Government, criticism from FIFA's Jack Warner, a dispute over gifts of designer handbags, Lord Triesman's enforced resignation, a war of words with Russia and the investigations into FIFA by the Sunday Times and BBC Panorama.

Press Association

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