Former Sheffield MP Richard Caborn: FA 'arrogance' led to failed 2018 World Cup bid

Former minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn
Former minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn
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Former minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn said the Football Association were wrong to reject advice from the successful bidding team of the 2012 Olympics when looking to land the 2018 World Cup.

Caborn, minister of sport from 2001 to 2007 and Sheffield Central MP from 1983 to 2010, was appointed by Gordon Brown as the ambassador for England's bid to host the tournament.

Sheffield was chosen as a host city with Hillsborough planned to host matches if the bid was successful.

Mr Caborn admitted a 400-page report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups made 'sad reading'.

The report was published by football's world governing body FIFA on Tuesday and reflected badly on England's bid team, with evidence of vote trading amongst other details deemed to have 'undermined the integrity of the bidding process.'

Caborn told BBC Radio 5 live: "It makes very sad reading and is a sad reflection on the bid team, there's no doubt about that.

"I think it was very unfortunate that back in 2005, when we were very successful in bidding for the Olympics, we brought that expertise and indeed offered that to the Football Association. That was rejected and they decided, as they had done previously - and indeed lost the previous bid for the World Cup - that they wanted to do it.

"There was this arrogance around the FA that they could do it all and that was very evident with the bid team.

"I had the privilege of working on both, both the Olympics which was successful and then, unfortunately, I was dismissed from this particular team bidding for 2018.

"We took the advice to the FA, we in fact produced a report saying 'this is how you ought to do it'. We had just come off the back of one of the most successful bids that the country had been through to get the 2012 Olympics.

"I'm afraid to say that Geoff Thompson (former chairman of the FA) at the beginning wasn't even on the bid team, he got sidelined and eventually was brought back, they thought it wasn't a bad idea to bring him back in, the fact he'd been (involved with) UEFA and FIFA for a considerable number of years."

Caborn praised the FA for changes they have implemented in recent years and does not believe there would be a repeat of 2010 should England bid again to host a World Cup.

He added: "I think the FA has learned and now you have a very competent chief executive of the Football Association and I think in terms of what you've seen from the government of the Football Association it is changing dramatically, and for the better.

"So I think lessons have been learned and if we were in this position to bid now we would have a much more professional, transparent and accountable approach to that."