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Cameron can be proud of his World Cup fight

3 December 2010

It’s not often that I disagree with James, but I don’t think that David Cameron returns from Zurich with egg on his face. Of
course, we Scots learn to see the upside in sporting defeat, but I really do believe the World Cup bid was a credit to England – and to the Prime Minister.

That video which Pete blogged yesterday spoke with incredible elegance: England is already the home of world
football. People get up at 4am in Singapore to watch Manchester United and Chelsea play, and I suspect most Man Utd fans have never visited Britain, let alone Old Trafford. It’s an
extraordinary national asset, an area where Britain punches above its weight time and time again.

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Cameron himself will doubtless have had daydreams of doing a Blair (who personally turned around the IOC to win the 2012 Olympic bid) – but, as this morning’s papers suggest, FIFA is rotten to the
core. For England to win just two votes looks suspicious.

I don’t really share the condemnation of the BBC and Panorama: if FIFA doesn’t like a country which has a free press whose priorities differ from those of the government, then they
chose the right winner yesterday. God knows the FA has its problems, and that Britain’s infrastructure is nothing boast about (as anyone who has commuted today will now). But the final stages
of the bid, where Cameron formed a troika with Prince William and Beckham, were something to be proud of.

In a year’s time, if I’m asked what’s great about Britain, one of the things I’ll point to is that promotional video showing fans the world over tuning in to English
football. The whole process reminded me about why it’s great to be British. If Cameron had stayed home worried that he’d be associated with a failed bid (as Brown would have done), then
he might deserve some criticism. He fought a good fight, and should be proud of it.

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Show comments
  • Bill Fraser

    FIFA has nothing to with football that fans enjoy, it never has…

    The home nations should walk out of FIFA.. an the UK media should not pay a penny for media coverage of the next so-called World cup…

  • Dimoto

    Strapworld – correct !
    Another little dirty deed to go with the Treasury turning a blind eye to the collection of crooked money launderers who own Fraser’s “extraordinary national asset – the Premiership” routinely arranging mass tax evasion by their dozens of immigrant footballers.

    Wake up and smell the coffee in the coffee house Mr Nelson,there is bigger corruption right under your nose.

  • Clear Memories

    Perhaps now is the time for England to pull out of the ‘competition’.

    I note today the FA or whatever they are, say they won’t bid again until things change. Why bother even turning up for the matches?

    If this pointless little game is so important, surely FIFA will be driven to ask England to return?

    The truth is, this is a nasty, corrupt business, played by overpaid dim-wits, peopled by chancers surrounded by manipulative gamblers. It occupies too big a place in the national conciousness, not because we’re that interested but because it fills column inches and screens, giving the idle underclass something else to watch other than Oprah and Dr Phil.

    Forget the banks, lets have a good look at the finances of the Premier League and start with a 95% tax rate on players on the grounds that they are not worth what they are paid.

  • AF

    Go Verity,go Verity go go go.

  • Baron

    why should it be any business of the PM to help secure a bid for a sporting event, ha?

  • Verity

    A comment by James Delingpole! Wheeeeeee!

  • Phil Kean

    Yes, he can be proud of his efforts.

    Must have worn out the knees on at least four pairs of trousers.

    Shame he doesn’t employ the same effort to protect Britain’s Sovereignty and ensure that we retain the ability to continue to be a prosperous nation.

    PK – An EU Dave supporter – NOT!

  • Peter From Maidstone

    Verity, I am NOT a girly reader. Indeed I am not even a girly ex-reader. It is quite possible to be both appalled by the corruption in all international organisations, and also to not wish to host the World Cup.

  • M Nash

    What is there to be proud of. David Cameron did what he can to win the 2018 World Cup for our country. However, he should have investigated with care what kind of an organization FIFA is, in order to have planned meticulously how to proceed. Someone should have pointed that the chances of us winning is small, because we are an upright nation, that may not be able to participate in the type of politicking that is necessary. We feel our country and future King have been humiliated.

  • Verity

    Why does Cameronetta always have his vanity snapper take him with his fingers splayed as though he is explaining something of critical importance, but doesn’t have the words and has to resort to miming?

    Does he think this is a power pose or something? (PS, he’s got horrible wimpy hands. He should keep them hidden.)


    Pettros, I would have thought that the mission of the Spectator under this editorship was now crystal clear.

    James Delingpole put precisely into words my initial reaction to this piece.

    I am tempted to say Delingpole for Editor but I’m guessing that not only is he English, he didn’t even go to Glasgow University, so there seems little point.

  • Verity

    Britain’s being degraded daily, denuded of the qualities that made our country so envied, and the Spectator, once a literate and informed organ of conservative thinking, and its girly readers are weeping weakly into their tea because Britain didn’t get chosen for the venue.

    Never mind, you have the ghastly Olympics, that you and your children will be paying for the for the next 25 years, and a lovely new gigantic mosque in, apart from any other considerations, the worst imaginable Arab taste in the heart of our ancient capital to look forward to.

  • EC

    Not just FIFA but football itself is rotten to the core. It is now all about money and not about sport. The modern game has descended to the point where it is a badly refereed spectacle consisting of 22 professional overpaid bestial thugs, whose first inclination is to cheat, kicking a ball up and down a field for 90 minutes.

    The notion put about that football is somehow a beautiful game which should be considered as the pinnacle of human aspiration and/or achievement is as laughable as it is intensely depressing.

    Not hosting the 2018 world cup might actually bring a net benefit British industry with less people throwing sickies and skiving off work.

  • Mr L

    I’m afraid it doesn’t matter how well or badly Cameron and co did, if our lot did not bribe enough people they were never going to win.

  • Terence Milligan


    Very interesting piece you ay find this amusing and perhaps give a more accurate reflection of Cameron’s reaction to the news

    Oh that it were true!

    Best wishes

  • dorothy wilson

    davidk: As I’ve asked before, just what plant do you live on?

    There is absolutely no way in which David Cameron’s credibility is diminished over this bid. It began, after all, under a Labour government. Had DC not supported it you would be one of the first to criticise.

    But then, in your totally blinkered way, that is all you seem to do.

  • yank

    Dave’s a marketeer, and no more so than in that video, gadgeted with the marketeer’s free walkable microphone headgear, imploring his customers sincerely (sincerity is everything… if you can fake that, you got it made.).

    But marketeering is not leadership, and no leader would be caught dead doing what Dave did here, standing up and begging a bunch of international grifters. Did we catch Putin caught on camera begging? Of course not, why would he choose the failed course? And he’s of course comfortable with “other” courses, so the field is his. He got the job done (one way or another). That’s the leader’s job. Dave’s mistake was ever taking the field.

    At least the royal had some dignity, standing at a podium, speaking demurely, for the nation. That was the proper approach. Here’s where the sorta divided executive you all have should be allowed to pay off, but sycophantic Dave knows not the moment… only himself.

  • Adrian Sells

    I’ve just seen the man Anson, who led our bid, reported on the news as saying that they were told the media killed England’s chances.
    Like the drivel from all the BBC phobics on this site, this is complete nonsense.
    Clearly FIFA is corrupt, as pointed out by the Sunday Times as well as the Beeb. Pointing it out doesn’t lose you the bid, but failing to cough up and play FIFA’s game clearly does.
    Russia & Qatar are welcome to playing host to this grubby little outfit.

  • Magnolia

    There’s no shame for the Prime Minister because for once he had the best hair!

  • davidk

    James was absolutely correct in saying this was a national humiliation. Cameron said it was ‘too close to call’, but the England bid (shorn of Jeff Thompson’s support) garnered 1 vote out of a possible 21 up for grabs. The so called ‘Three Lions’ were brought down like a trio of week old kittens.

    You can dress it up whichever way you want, but the credibility of all involved in this sorry episode is diminished…none more so than the PMs.

  • Boudicca

    I was actually very proud of England’s bid and the way the two Davids and William presented it. I thought it showed England in a very positive light and all three represented the country extremely well.

    I am not in the least embarrassed that we lost. FIFI is institutionally corrupt and fears the independent and outspoken British Media. They deserve Russia – and no doubt they will get exactly what they deserve.

  • Steve E.

    Thanks for the steer, Strapworld

    Martin Samuel is an excellent sports journalist, but even well-intentioned buffoons, such as Simon Jenkins over at The Graun, realised that getting down in the gutter with the Fifa executives was a futile exercise.

    David Beckham and Prince William probably had no choice in being dragged along, but what was David Cameron’s excuse?

  • TrevorsDen

    PS –

    Still the English press now know England will never host a World Cup again so they may as well go for broke over FIFA corruption.

    Speaking of which, lets not forget that the last time we hosted a World Cup an Englishman was president of FIFA – just a coincidence obviously.

  • TrevorsDen

    Of course Panorama, The Sunday Times and Lord Treismann were correct; but unless you are suggesting that England withdraw from FIFA where does that lead us? Treismann blew our bid out of the water and the FA generally totally played the wrong game. The BBC (which itself in another guise spends millions covering FIFA events) just stuck up 2 fingers as a ‘sod you’ in passing.

    FIFA demands? Presumably the USA agreed as part of its bid as would Spain Portugal Belgium and Holland. So your point is …?

    The bankruptcy of FIFA of course is exposed in the selection of Qatar for 2022.
    But what is the point about complaining about corruption or the moral fitness of states to host events if China can be given the Olympics. No doubt China will get 2026 if it wants it.

  • TomTom

    This is a great spoof. Two Etonians and The Essex Boy run through £15 million to get an also-ran footballing country to front up the cost for a PR jamboree to top off the Olympics scam.

    There is something so plasticky about these three celebrities – they must do something on climate change or saving the whales, maybe they could go clubbing together.

    Really, Prince William is becoming a complete farce just like his uncle

  • James Delingpole

    Fraser, I’m sorry but this analysis is so utterly gay that if I didn’t know about your core soundness I’d be seriously starting think that you should go and edit the New Statesman.

  • 2trueblue

    IF Cameron, Prince William and Beckham had not gone to represent us the venom would really be poured on Cameron. Better to get on and do your best, then you have nothing to be ashamed about. You have to be in it to win it.

  • alexsandr

    Why do we have anythignto do with the corrupt FIFA. Mebbe we should withdraw and let em stew in their own juice till they get their house in order.

  • Ian Fergus

    I fully agree with the article. David Cameron fought the good fight and was seen to do so. I was not oversurprised at Russia getting the World Cup but Qatar ahead of Australia?
    I hpe that ‘The Sunday Times’ and ‘Panorama’ continue to expose FIFA for what it is.

  • EC

    strapworld, December 3rd, 2010 10:32am

    Thank you.

  • Simon Stephenson


    About Mr Cameron and the coalition, you’re beginning to sound like Michael Howard used to, in that nothing is ever neutral enough to be described in neutral terms – everything has to be stretched to the limit to create a bit of gung-ho positive.

    Don’t you feel that Aesop’s story of the boy who cried wolf is supposed to cover an area broader than just false alarm? Isn’t it that we lose all the benefits of a fluid transmission of truth when we no longer have faith that truth and reality are what is being transmitted? Aesop left it open, but don’t we ultimately end up with a degradation of humanity itself? Where we are no longer comfortable in delegating power to experts or leaders, because there is no longer the backstop of honesty to keep their ambition in check?

  • Adrian Sells

    Thanks for the steer to Martin Samuel’s piece. Absolutely excellent!

  • Jez

    “I don’t really share the condemnation of the BBC and Panorama: if FIFA doesn’t like a country which has a free press whose priorities differ from those of the government, then they chose the right winner yesterday.”


    If someone calls you a c*nt (especially in your uber clicky, elitist media bubble) then you’re not going to ‘help’ that person are you? You will most probably go out of your way to hinder, obstruct or even knock that person flat on their arse. Bloody hell, if you sway slightly from a liberal left marxist ideolgy and the media would push you off the edge of a cliff if they were allowed to.

    So a textbook UK media FIFA hatchet job just 3 days before a massively important FIFA vote (face it; that timing because people will actually watch it) not only is so full of the trademark bombastic media arrogance that almost everyone outsde of this untouchable organisation despises, it also give the FIFA members a loaded gun to fire back (for once) in the direction of our mafia media.

    “F*ck you BBC!”…. Yep, it hits the rest of us as well but so what?

    It’s called collective punishment.

    Unfortunaely we are sentenced to our media’s actions each and every day anyway.

    We were just all lucky enough to get two for the price of one this time though.

    What is it that’s hard to understand- or is this the industry wide damage limitaion excersise we’re all going to be indoctrinated with for the next seven and a half years?

  • michael

    Blatter’s jealous of the premier league because brand ‘Bundesliga’ doesn’t cut it.

    After a nod and a wink (outrage at The Times) Beebtas duly serves up the red herring to go. (At the most predictable time)
    Another foggy Jubilani style caper.

  • strapworld

    Mr Nelson, I do agree with most of your post.

    However there is a taste of hypocrisy about this morning. I do think Panorama, The Sunday Times and Lord Treismann have been proved correct, yet timing can be criticised.

    I want to live in a country where the press are free to reveal corruption, be it in politics or sport. Be it on immigration(!) or backhanders for football executives.

    What I cannot stomach, this morning,is this attempt to paint our bid as squeeky clean.

    As the excellent journalist Martin Samuels writes this morning:-

    “All you need to know about the men who made this decision is that FIFA requested, as a condition if England had mounted a successful bid, exclusion from a range of UK laws including one governing Banks and Foreign Exchange Operations. FIFA had asked for ‘the unrestricted import and export of all foreign currencies to and from the UK’ and, worse, they got it.

    So, had England hosted the World Cup, FIFA executives were free to move around with sacks of unexplained cash, exempt from the inquisition of customs officers. Is it only me that is beginning to feel the need for a shower?”

    Which government agreed to this and why did Cameron go along with it? We are either squeeky clean or not!

    Corruption comes in many guises. This agreement was a total disgrace.

  • oldtimer

    I was under the impression that, until a few days ago, the England bid was a lost cause – rooted in the FA`s organisational and managerial incompetence over the past several years. It is a measure of the (fleeting) triumph of spin over substance that, earlier this week, so many were persuaded that England could actually win.

    It is evident that the contest was bought by the billions that Russia and Qatar are willing to spend on stadia etc in the name of development. As others have pointed out, this was a significant element in the successful London Olympics bid.

    Cameron and Prince William had little choice but to show willing and support the bid.

  • AF

    There is no shame for Britain in their bid for the World Cup,but plenty for FIFA to shoulder.It must be time to continue to investigate the cronyism of that club,and expose any irregularities that may be uncovered.After years of bad publicity and inuendos you would think that such a world institution would wish to clear its name rather than hide behind such a stink.
    At the least they should make the criteria clear inasmuch that if they intend that the event should be held in countries that are underdeveloped or without a great history of football they should make it clear from the outset and save countries such as ours the expense and effort.
    But of course countries like ours bring a little more glamour to the show.
    The cynical might believe that the more infrustucture to build the more jobs for the boys.
    Papua-New Guinea 2026??

  • Adrian Sells

    But clearly Cameron & the Prince’s mission was always doomed unless they were followed by another layer of negotiators whose suitcases were stuffed with cash

  • Darren Brooks

    I vote we get even with the rest of the world by switching off their TV access to Premier League Football. Let them watch the Russian and Qatari Leagues instead.

  • michael

    Q. What common promise land could Russia and Qatar share?

    A. Energy

  • Nick

    Despite the corrupt nature of FIFA it would have been economically beneficial to Britain to have won the bid and so Cameron was right to get involved.

    UK PMs also do trade missions to corrupt countries to sell RR jet engines and other British goods and services.

  • Adrian Sells

    You put your finger on the point when you say that “FIFA is rotten to the core”. That’s the real issue and it is not particularly edifying to see the Prime Minister and eventual heir to the throne kowtowing to a bunch of corrupt scumbags.
    How can anyone condemn either the Sunday Times or Beeb for exposing these crooks?

  • JohnPage

    Enough football posts.

  • history lover

    Hear hear. We should be proud of our Prime Minister who was putting the country’s interests first, as I am sure were Prince William and David Beckham. You mentioned that Gordon Brown would have bottled it and I am convinced that Blair only helped with the Olympic bid to gain personal kudos. After all when did he ever put his country first unlike David Cameron who is a true patriot

  • Gawain

    Perhaps the footballers can now forget about all the politics and puffed up posturing and try to actually win the competition. More England qualified players in the Premiership would make a good start. Provided of course that the Russians and FIFA are not going to fix the results of the games as well !

  • Mike Thomas

    Say what you like about Cameron but he rolled up his sleeves and got stuck in. I’m very proud to have an articulate leader that understands in his very essence what it is to be English.

    I suspect there will be quite a few countries that are quietly shocked at the result which I think will not do FIFA any favours.

    So we didn’t win but I think the result shows that FIFA is rotten to the core. As much as I wish Russia well, I have worked out there and attended Spartak Moscow matches.

    I am struggling to understand how they are going to control their fans, they expect football players to be white….

    They also enjoy giving the Police a tough time too.

    As for the FA, they should spend some time looking at themselves, look at their organisation and how the game is set up in the UK and improve it.

    Make it the very best league in the world with the best stadia, best teams and who knows, maybe win something.

    Ideally in 2018, that would be the best revenge.

  • kinglear

    Fraser, I agree with you. It’s about time our politicians did things without weighing up the potential political fallout. Mrs.T would have been there if she thought it was a good idea, irrespective of what people thought

  • Pettros

    Fraser you are a bit hyper-protective of Cam aren’t you!? Its not like the previous article absolutely slaughtered him. He is allowed some crticism you know!

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