FA chief keen to reform bidding process

Football Association chief executive Alex Horne insists he will push for reform in the World Cup bidding process.

FA chief keen to reform bidding process

Football Association chief executive Alex Horne insists he will push for reform in the World Cup bidding process.

Horne believes the FA must learn from the embarrassment which saw England poll just two votes in Zurich when Russia won the race to stage the 2018 World Cup.

And, as Britain's sports minister Hugh Robertson revealed that England were led to believe they had eight votes on board in the first round in Zurich, Horne says he will be talking his concerns to FIFA.

Horne said: “I think the process could have sensible reform. Any election process or procurement process should be open to review and I would like to talk to other people around the game about how we might review that process.

“For example a cap on expenditure in the campaign, so for nine bidders to go all the way to Zurich isn’t necessary.

“There could be pre-elimination rounds. I think there are other ways to look at the process, not just bidding one year at a time.

“I am personally, hugely disappointed. I think there is a need for process reform, certainly a review of process so I will be talking to Fifa about it, yes.”

Horne, who was speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme, believes any reform would stop short of a breakaway from FIFA.

“I don’t think it’s practical,” he said.

“What I need to do is to build the relationships with the general secretaries and my incoming chairman, when selected, needs to build the relationships with the presidents and we continue to talk to the leading football nations but in practice a breakaway just doesn’t feel workable. I think it’s too reactionary.”

Robertson revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron believed England had as many as eight votes in the bag in the first round in Zurich.

“Eight people had indicated in some way, shape or form that they were disposed to vote for us,” said Robertson.

“The most astonishing thing is that in England we had the very best technical evaluation, by common consent we did the best presentation and we got the fewest votes. We need to understand why.”

The England bid, however, came under fire from Mike Lee, the Englishman who helped bring the Olympics to London and who helped mastermind Qatar’s winning bid for the World Cup in 2022.

Lee believes the England bid was damaged by the scandal which saw former FA chairman Lord Triesman resign.

Lee said: “International legacy is very important and Russia and Qatar both presented something very strong in that.

“But if I’m being absolutely brutal about it and I look at international campaigns from across the world I think this England bid campaign was not Premier League, it was relegation and League One.

“I’m not denigrating the work that was done – one of the people who comes out with his head held high is David Dein. Dein came into an incredibly difficult situation. It was clear to everybody that Lord Triesman was not the right choice.

“He was not popular among his fellow colleagues here in English football. He was terribly unpopular in international football and for nearly 60% of the campaign we were hampered.

“But David Dein, Sir Keith Mills, Seb Coe and David Beckham deserve plaudits, as well as very many hard working members of the bid team, but if you don’t have the right leadership and you don’t have the right strategy and you don’t have a unique message you’re not going to win.”

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