James Forsyth

Does the trouble at FIFA really matter?

Does the trouble at FIFA really matter?
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The news that the votes which ended up with Russia and Qatar winning the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups might not have been model, clean elections is about as surprising as the news that the faeces discovered in the woods are believed to be of ursine origin. In the Independent today, Dominic Lawson cuts through the seemingly continuous media coverage of the matter to the question of whether it actually matters:

“More to the point, given that there are no objective economic benefits to the nations holding such competitions (whatever the kudos to local political dignitaries such as Boris Johnson) shouldn't we as taxpayers feel grateful if other countries managed to offer more successful bribes? They, and not us, are the ones who've been Blattered.”

Automatic qualification for the World Cup and home advantage for the first time since 1966 would have been very nice. But considering what everyone knew had to be done to win and how far other countries were prepared to go, it wasn’t worth bidding for the right to host the tournament in the first place.