ENGLAND’S failed World Cup bid cost more than £10million a vote, new figures from the Football Association (FA) reveal.
The FA’s latest accounts show the bid to win the right to host the 2018 tournament cost £21million, about £6million more than had previously been reported.
Yet the bid ended in humiliation last December, with England attracting the support of just two FIFA delegates – one of them the British FIFA vice-president Geoff Thompson.
England spent more per vote than any country except Australia, whose bid for the 2022 tournament cost £28million but attracted just one vote.
The FA accounts show football’s national governing body spent £14million of its own money, with the remainder coming in the form of £2.5million from local authorities involved in the bid and £4.5million from sponsors.
Sunderland City Council was the biggest individual local authority spender, with £421,584.80 invested in the bid, including the £250,000 compulsory contribution to the national marketing cost.
Speaking at last week’s Leaders in Football conference in London, Minister for Sport Hugh Robertson said he regretted the money that had been spent on the 2018 bid.
He said: “When I look back on it, I wish we’d had the gumption to realise at a very early stage that FIFA wanted something fundamentally different than what we were putting on the table. I wish we’d had foresight to appreciate that earlier.”
Martyn McFadden, editor of SAFC fanzine A Love Supreme, said: “In hindsight it seems a massive waste of money, but then again if we had got the bid it would have been a huge cash injection for the area.”
He labelled Fifa’s criteria for choosing host nations ‘a farce’ and added: “Football is the biggest spectator sport in the world, and the governing needs to be called into question.”
Money spent by North East bid teams went towards helicopter flights to transport Fifa officials, as well as their accommodation at Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington.