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Day of disappointment

England's failure to become host nation for the 2018 World Cup is disappointing.   Receiving only two votes and being eliminated on the first round is even more so.   Despite the optimism emanating from the English camp on the day, I was not surprised that England didn't win.   I was surprised that Russia did, although perhaps I shouldn't have been.  I was even more surprised that we finished behind Belgium and the Netherlands.

England bid has the big mo

Reports from Zurich suggest that the England bid for the 2018 World Cup is gathering momentum at just the right time, the last lap.  But will it be enough to carry the bid across the finishing line?  We will know this afternoon.

Only England can meet Fifa sales targets

A study has concluded that only England can meet Fifa's sales targets for the 2018 World Cup.  However, Spain and Portugal - the real competitors - can meet 91 per cent of the targets.

Indications from Zurich suggest that this is increasingly a contest between England and the Iberian countries.   Belgium and the Netherlands were never front runners in my view and Russia has been falling away fast.

Panorama programme was a mistake

Having watched last night's BBC Panorama programme on Fifa, I am even more convinced that its screening at that time was mistake.   Its defenders will no doubt point out that it exposed apparent serious corruption on the part of three Fifa officials, if one is to believe the contents of the document flourished on the programme which had arrived in a brown envelope from a 'trusted source'.

Who will host the 2018 World Cup?

The smart money is now on Spain and Portugal hosting the 2018 World Cup.   Spain are the World Cup holders; they have one of the best two leagues in the world (some would say the best); and both countries have some impressive stadia.   Transport links by rail within Spain have improved by leaps and bounds.

Pink 'un slams Fifa

The Lex column in the Financial Times has published a searing attack on Fifa after it decided to change none of its procedures for handling bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after recent revelations.   Quite rightly, Lex argues that Fifa lacks transparency and adequate decision-making procedures.

Fifa suspends Nigeria

Fifa has suspended the Nigerian Football Federation with immediate effect, news that comes immediately after the country's troubled 50th anniversary celebrations.   It will mean that the country will not be represented in any regional, continental or international competitions.   It will also involve bans at club level including international friendly matches.

Bristol City stadium blow

Bristol City have suffered a setback in a scheme to build a new 30,000-seat stadium but are determined to press ahead.  The £92m stadium was planned as a venue for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Campaigners have won a significant victory to protect the site in fhe Ashton Vale area of the city.  Following a public inquiry, the inspector said that the land should be given town green status.

World Cup bets boost bookmaker

A poor bookmaker is a contradiction in terms and Paddy Power has reported a 54 per cent rise in half-year profits to £43m.  £70.5m of bets were placed on the World Cup and the bookmaker made a £15m profit from losing punters.   They did particularly well out of patriotic bets placed by England supporters.   Spain's faltering start also deterred punters from placing bets being placed on the eventual winners.

World Cup sponsorship pays off

Why do leading companies pay Fifa as much as £16m a year for exclusive World Cup sponsorship rights?   Because it creates forms of brand engagement which are not possible with more conventional forms of advertising, leading to more sales.