England 2018 World Cup chief wants legal action over bid process
Simon Johnson, the chief operating officer of England’s rejected 2018 World Cup bid, is calling for the FA to take legal action against FIFA.
In the wake of the ongoing FIFA scandal and investigation into widespread corruption throughout international soccer, Johnson says the tournament was always going to be given to Russia and believes the FA should try to recoup the heavy costs of an unfair and “rigged” process.
Russia won the bid, and suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter said Wednesday that voters had “agreed inside the group” to take the World Cup to Russia before balloting was ever held, due in part to the nation’s political power. He added there was a similar plan to hold the tournament in the United States in 2022 before a late swing in votes gave Qatar the winning bid.
“I think the FA has an obligation to bring an action against FIFA to recover not just their own costs but those incurred by the 12 host cities who were part of the bid, our sponsors, contractors and the government,” Johnson said, according to The Guardian. “The FA entered into a contract with FIFA to run a bid in accordance with certain rules – each bidder had to sign a bidding agreement – and, in my view, that contract has been invalidated. FIFA didn’t keep their side of the bargain.
“I think the bid’s sponsors are entitled to say to the FA: ‘You have a duty to recover the money we’ve spent.’”
FA chairman Greg Dyke told the U.K.’s culture, media and sport select committee on Wednesday that “it would be very nice to get taxpayers’ money back.”