If that’s where Blatter, and therefore his executive committee, want to host it, fine. But if so, don’t waste everyone’s time and money by inviting others to tender bids, conducting security assessments (Russia is more dangerous) and preparing technical bids (Russia’s was the worst). Don’t tell us what our journalists should investigate and what they shouldn’t (Russia is ranked 140th in the world for press freedom). Don’t invite representatives of nations from around the world to abase themselves before you, promise to vote for them, and then go off with someone else. However foolish the England bid’s representatives were to cosy up to men of such dubious character, this is a pathetic game of FIFA’s creation. Much as I generally hate isolationism, perhaps the shred of footballing dignity England can still cling to would be best served by our simply focusing on playing the sport, and not the game. We’re clearly no good at it, and it stinks.
Football is just too brilliant, I think that’s its problem. A beautifully simple game, loved nearly everywhere it is introduced, the same principles at work on a makeshift pitch in Bedford Park as at the Bernabéu. Exploiting it is like shooting fish in a barrel. Enter FIFA, Sky, the Glazer family, et. al. Exit dignity and joy.