Thursday, October 8, 2009

England, Jack Warner and the 2018 Bid

We have noted before, on this site, that the wrangling over who will host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 ... sometimes seems to eclipse the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.

It seems a bit crazy, to be so agitated about tournaments nine and 13 years away, involving players who may not even be professionals yet ... but there it is. The would-be host countries are thinking about this. A lot. Even with a rash of crucial qualifiers coming up this weekend.

One of those countries is England, which wants to host either Cup, and generally is connected to the 2018 Cup -- because it will have been in the Americas in 2014, and away from Europe since 2006.

However, the highly influential (and controversial) Jack Warner, FIFA executive member and president of Concacaf, made lots of news in England this week by criticizing the English bid.

First, in this story, in which Warner said England's bid was creeping along when it ought to be galloping.

Then, in this more recent story, in which Warner said England needed to inject some energy into its bid by including, oh, David Beckham as one of its primary salesmen.

Warner is considered something of a boogieman in England, where he generally is considered to be hopelessly corrupt. But he is feared because he appears to wield so much power over the Concacaf voting bloc. And, by extension, over Sepp Blatter himself.

Blatter's accession to the FIFA presidency, remember, came via the parts of the world that were not Europe. Including Concacaf -- the Caribbean, North American and Central American confederation. (Warner is from Trinidad & Tobago.) Europe almost unanimously supported the Swede Lennart Johansson over Blatter, a Swiss.

Anyway, follow the links if you want to see a batch of England-oriented hand-wringing over their bid, and Jack Warner's criticism of it.

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