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‘All The Fish Are Sold’: Spain Claim Seven World Cup Votes

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In a turn of phrase more befitting an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E than an interview regarding the upcoming World Cup 2018 voting ceremony in Zurich, the chief executive of the Spain/Portgual bid, Miguel Angel Lopez, has claimed that ‘all the fish are sold’ and that the Iberian campaign may have already (theoretically) garnered at least 7 and as many as 8 of the 22 votes available.

Lopez, who had previously allowed Spanish FIFA executive committee member Angel Maria Villar Llona to deal with the public duties relating to the Spain/Portugal bid, insisted that he is now ‘moderately confident’ of securing the next World Cup – although he also acknowledged, during an extremely brief interview with Bloomberg, that the voting which is scheduled to take place in Zurich next week is almost bound to be a close-run contest:

“It won’t be a big win in our favour or a big loss against us.”

England’s bid team are hoping that a last-minute lobbying offensive from the likes of prime minister David Cameron, England’s gilded show pony David Beckham and heir to throne Prince William may be enough to claw back the ground (i.e. votes) that they seem to have lost thanks to the various corruption exposés carried out by the British media into FIFA’s particular modus operandi – although Lopez believes that it will be a case of too little too late.

Indeed Spain/Portugal are intending to roll out their footballing big guns for the final push, with Lopez formally asking Real Madrid to let Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas (the captains of Portugal and Spain respectively) to attend the vote – with Real manager Jose Mourinho also invited to tag along.

casillasron All The Fish Are Sold: Spain Claim Seven World Cup Votes

Real Madrid pair Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas

However, even if the Merengues trio are freed up to travel to Zurich, Lopez admitted that their appearance would probably be too late to still have any kind of influence on the vote, adding cryptically:

“All the fish are sold.”

…before presumably using the one hand he wasn’t using to conceal the hilt of a pistol to slide an unmarked briefcase, filled to the hilt with incriminating documents pertaining to the Cold War, across the large formica table at which he was huddled.

‘Twas not so very long ago that the Spain/Portugal bid was investigated by FIFA following claims of collusion with Qatar’s 2022 bid, in which it was alledged that the Iberians may have secured an ill-gotten bloc of at least seven votes.

However, FIFA’s Ethics committee ruled last week that there were no ‘sufficient grounds’ to provide a ruling either way, a dead rubber that Lopez is taking as a sign of definite absolution:

“If there was something to find, [FIFA] would have done more. They did what was necessary, but their procedures showed nothing.”

Yet still, Lopez retains a high level of optimism over the fact that he can count on the support of the four Asian delegates that currently sit on the FIFA executive committee – namely president of the Asian Football Confederation Mohamed Bin Hammam, Thailand’s Worawi Makudi, Japan’s Junji Orgura and South Korea’s Chung Mong Joon.

Spain/Portugal are also hoping to capitalise on the hard work of their conquistador forefathers, in claiming the manifest rights to the votes of the  three South American executives involved, as Latin America is, according to Lopez, their ‘natural territory’.

So, as you can delineate for yourselves, thanks to FIFA’s exhaustive investigation into the Spain/Portugal/Qatar bids (which consisted of two emails being sent, in case your were wondering) there is absolutely no room left for collusion in the World Cup voting system.

Aren’t they good?

Also See:

FIFA World Cup Voters
Vote Rigging 101

Comments (2)

  1. I’d expect Thailand’s Worawi Makudi to choose England in the 2018 bid as there is a huge amount of support for England and the Premier League in Thailand. I remember a few years ago I saw a group of Thai teenagers in Middlesborough shirts, which with no disrespect to Middlesborough, does go to show the level of support for our game beyond the usual big names. Whilst that offers no guarantee as to the decision of an individual, I do believe that he is very likely to favour the England bid.

    Unless of course he voted against Thaksin Shinawatra?! In which case, we’re buggered!

    Something that could prove to be against the English bid, that hasn’t really been explored yet, is the fact that Australia are surely the favourites to secure the 2022 bid? I wonder whether the similarities between the two countries (on face value) might be seen as a lack of diversity?

    Here’s some things I have been considering…

    Qatar – too hot?! Does that mean they will never host it? Do we need a Winter World Cup put in rotation first? Too soon for a ‘Middle East’ tournament – we just conquered the Africa target afterall?
    Japan – hosted in 2002, too soon to bid again?
    South Korea – hosted in 2002, too soon to bid again? Security risk with North Korea (farfetched, but it could cost a decisive vote)?
    Australia – Never hosted it, recently joined the Asian Confederation which is a confederation that’s due to host it. Surely favourites? Could an England win for 2018 cause them to lose favour though?
    USA – Brazil 2014 is in ‘the Americas’, 1994 isn’t so long ago… but probably long enough. Mexico withdrew their bid, would be in US favour as CONCACAF confederation is also due to host.

    2022 – Australia to comfortably pip USA in the final vote. 2026 will be the year we see CONCACAF hosting the tournament. USA, Mexico or perhaps even Canada would all be given the nod ahead of other nations in that bid.

    Spain/Portugal – Spain are world champions and that will surely help secure a vote or two. Economy is really struggling in both countries and that could lose them confidence. Has the Qatar collusion really been dismissed or are some voters still curious?
    England – The media have taken the steam out of the bid. Birthplace of football and the safest choice of all bids in terms of pretty much everything.
    Russia – It’s one thing for them to host Eurovision but is a World Cup going to feel welcoming? The spread of venues is huge and in various time zones. Transport is non existant for the most part. Never hosted. Huge powerhouse.
    Belgium/Holland – Successfully hosted Euro 2000. Claim to have the greenest bid – not so hard given the size of the countries though.

    2018 – England will host this tournament. However, I’m not sure they’ll be awarded that right next month. I think it’ll come late 2016 and Spain/Portugal will have FIFA backing until then.

    These are potentially catastrophic economic times. Of all the bids, England’s is the one that poses the minimal risk. We could host the thing next year with minimal problem. Fact. If we were bidding for 2022, when economies are likely to be less at risk, then perhaps we would not win, but I believe FIFA will have no choice but to play this one safe, even if they do award it to Spain/Portugal now, I believe that nearer the time they’ll have no choice but to find a steady replacement in England. Russia will have their day in 2030.

  2. If you pencil in potential hosts, it soon becomes clear that the tournament will surely come around every 2 years one day very soon?

    Based on the current FIFA rotation policy (although that’s subject to change 10 times in this timeframe!) just look how long some Countrie’s might have to wait, in theory.

    2018 – England – last hosted 1966 – 52 years
    2022 – Australia – never hosted
    2026 – USA – last hosted 1994 – 32 years
    2030 – Russia – never hosted
    2034 – Argentina – last hosted 1978 – 56 years
    2038 – Japan – last hosted 2002 – 40 years
    2042 – Italy – last hosted 1990 – 52 years
    2046 – Egypt – never hosted
    2050 – Mexico – last hosted 1986 – 64 years
    2054 – France – last hosted 1998 – 56 years
    2058 – South Korea – last hosted 2002 – 56 years
    2062 – Uruguay – last hosted 1930 – 132 years
    2066 – Germany – last hosted 2006 – 60 years

    Of course there is a ridiculous amount of speculation involved, but if you look at Europe at the very least, the rotation policy means one Country every 12 years.

    Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands are all wannabe hosts. One of them is guaranteed to have a 86 year wait!