Mending fences | England needs to oust ‘retreads’ for 2018 bid, says Coe

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London | Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the successful effort to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to London, encourages an England bid for the 2018 World Cup finals but warns that the Football Association’s standing has slipped since the previous hosting in 1966. “When Fifa gave the finals to us last time round,” writes Coe in the Daily Telegraph,

it was in effect a decision made by an internal committee, at a time when we had a greater presence in football’s corridors of power—Stanley Rous became Fifa president in 1962—than we do now. England were facing Germany in the final round of voting, which took place at the Fifa congress in Rome in 1960. Spain dropped out before the final vote, which we won by 37 votes to Germany’s 28.

Coe also hinted strongly that some members of the bid team who sought the 2006 finals would have to be jettisoned.

We need to mend more than a few fences in the football world. On more than a few occasions when selling London’s case, particularly in Africa, to a football audience, I was unceremoniously unloaded upon about the perceived arrogance of one or two envoys who headed up England’s international lobbying…. If England are to be successful, and I hope they are, they cannot afford to take retreads back into the marketplace.

About the Author

John Turnbull founded The Global Game in 2003. He was lead editor for The Global Game: Writers on Soccer (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and has also written on soccer for Afriche e Orienti (Bologna, Italy), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the New York Times Goal blog, Soccer and Society, So Foot (Paris) and When Saturday Comes. His essay "Alone in the Woods: The Literary Landscape of Soccer's 'Last Defender' " in World Literature Today was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also for World Literature Today he edited a special section on women's soccer, "World Cup/World Lit 2011," before the Women's World Cup in Germany. The section appeared in the May-June issue. His next project is a book on soccer and faith.

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