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Burden quits as Fifa fallout grows


The big breaking football news this morning is that acting FA chairman Roger Burden has quit in the wake of England's failed World Cup bid.   He feels that he can no longer trust Fifa officials and work with them and one can understand where he is coming from.

However, what is needed is a measured response.   David Davies warned on Radio 5 this morning of the dangers of isolationism.   There are others who are aggrieved about what happened, notably Australia and the United States.

Australia would be a 'new' location for Fifa, just like Qatar, except that it has a long more to offer as a venue.  It staged a fantastic Olympics.   They spent $A42m on their bid for 2022 and they got just one vote.

Of course, one has to be cautious about purusing this argument too far.  Australia in the southern hemisphere, but it is not a 'Global South' country.   We need allies from those countries.   England, Australia and the United States are all in the 'Anglosphere' as defined by Cambridge University's Andrew Gamble.

If England withdrew from Fifa, it would also have to withdraw from Uefa and English teams would no longer be in the Champions League.   The underlying problem is, of course, that an international organisation is only accountable to its members and some of them can be manipulated.   Sepp Blatter is, however, coming up for re-election and a credible challenge to him would be worthwhile.  The problems at Fifa start with him.

One wag has suggested that Vatican City should be considered for the 2026 World Cup.  It's very small, but it's very rich and it would allow Fifa to reach out to Catholics across the world.  I believe there is a ground on which an inter-seminary competition is played and there was some speculation about entering a team in one of the lower Italian leagues.

The more I think about it the more I am amazed about the decision to go to Qatar, but it is becoming evident that choosing two sites at once allowed the trading of votes.  I wonder if in the end the competition will actually be held there.

We should also not let concerns about Fifa distract us from the fact that there are real governance issues in relation to the FA itself.   One of these is the need to get some stability at the top of the organisation.