As the bloated FIFA delegation concludes yet another stop on its pre-World Cup decision-making bung-and-freebie tour-a-palooza 2010, we’re entirely unsurprised to learn that they think the English bid was decent.
Then again, that’s the sort of thing you’d expect them to say at every stop along the way, so eager to tease all bidders along until the last possible moment. They get more free sh*t that way.
To wit, the shining blandness of the quotes from Harold Mayne-Nicholls, Chilean FA chief and head of the FIFA roadshow: “All the needs and objectives of our visit were met and we are positive that the World Cup in England in 2018 or 2022 would be a great experience with a long-lasting legacy for the country and its people as well as for football worldwide.”
There’s more: “They have organized the visit in a perfect way, with great professionalism, but also with a sense of friendship and hospitality.”
For one, it’s certainly better than what Mayne-Nicholls said to the Russians last week: “I would like to emphasize that, in the case the FIFA Executive Committee decides in December that the World Cup will go for the first time in football history to Russia, work would need to start immediately, to guarantee that everything will be in place right in time.”
However, it’s not all sunshine and daydreams just yet. FIFA’s big concern about England–well, big public concern, the private one being how they’re going to maximize their profits in a country where nothing much can be grafted–revolves around accommodations. You know, hotel rooms, suites, luxury villas and the like.
Said Mayne-Nicholls: “One thing Fifa are particularly focused on is accommodation as we need a very high number of quality rooms. This is why we ask all bidders for a certain number of contracted hotel rooms. We trust that you will be able to fulfil the necessary requirements.”
The translation is obvious: we need plenty of cushy penthouses for ourselves and any particularly important sponsors or suitors we wish to bring in accompaniment.
After all, there’s no danger of the English hotelier trade being unable to handle tourism (see: the hundreds of hotels within pissing distance of London, not to mention that the relatively small size of the country means folks can handle having a centralized base from which to travel back-and-forth to games), but there might not be enough well-heeled rooms with fine china and million-threadcount sheets to satiate Blatter and his assortment of guests.
But let’s not worry ourselves with such trifling matters just now. The English bid just needs to upgrade some hotel rooms, we’d led to believe, while the Russians need those rather bigger things in which games actually take place. And they’ll need to hide the gulags, and other cliched, probably non-existent vestiges of the past that escape me.
Where FIFA go next, I’m not sure. They step into their luxury jet, surrounded by the trappings of the sport they’ve pillaged, beset with lucre and lovely women, bound for a place far, far away. One with preferably better accommodations.