England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018 has ended in disappointment. Russia was chosen by 22 Fifa delegates to stage the biggest football tournament in the world.
England lost the bid – winning just two votes and being eliminated in the first round despite intense lobbying from Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham.
A post-mortem is now being carried out into where it went wrong.
Russia will now host the World Cup in 2018.
I can promise, we can all promise, you will never regret it. Igor Shuvalov, Russian deputy prime minister
Prince William, who was a crucial part of England’s World Cup bid, said: “Well, obviously we’re extremely disappointed and so is the team.
“We had a very strong bid but sadly it didn’t work out.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the World Cup 2018 bid outcome: “In the end it turns out having the best technical bid, the best commercial bid, a passion for football – that’s not enough.
“It’s desperately sad. There hasn’t been a World Cup in England in my lifetime. I was hoping to change that but not this time.”
David Beckham apologised to England fans for the bid team’s failure to win.
It was disappointing to go out in the first round. David Beckham
He told the BBC: “Apologies that we couldn’t bring the World Cup to our country because there’s no better and more passionate fans in the world than in England.
“Obviously it’s disappointing, it was disappointing to go out in the first round..but congratulations to Russia.”
Handed the World Cup by Sepp Blatter, Russian deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov celebrated, saying: “You have entrusted us with the Fifa World Cup for 2018 and I can promise, we all can promise, you will never regret it.
Qatar won the bid to host the World Cup in 2022.
Russia beats the UK. Qatar beats the US. Welcome to the new world. Economics Editor Faisal Islam on what today's decisions tell us about Britain's place in the world.
Despite a bid described as “excellent and remarkable” by Mr Blatter, judges rejected sending the tournament back to England.
Though the nation has excellent stadia, good transport links and policing, it is thought a number of behind-the-scenes factors possibly went against England.
BBC’s recent Panorama investigation accused three Fifa executive committee members of accepting “corrupt” payments and alleged that Fifa vice-president Jack Warner attempted to supply ticket touts.
It was transmitted just three days ago.
Uefa president Michel Platini insisted the documentary would not alter members’ votes or wreck England’s chances.
But he did claim that the British media’s arduous relationship with football’s international governing body could jeopardise England’s chances of success.
Part of England’s World Cup 2018 bid was to create a new global fund, “Football United”, for grassroots football.
The money was to be spent on social development around the world, providing better facilities and health and education centres.
It is claimed the fund would have benefited more than 1bn people.
The England team also focussed on the country’s passion for football: from Prime Ministers to Princes – the bid had widespread support.
The England 2018 official website attracted more than 2.3m “fans” who backed the bid.
But in the end that was not enough to convince 22 Fifa delegates that England should host the World Cup in 2018.
It will now be at least 2026 before England can host the tournament – exactly 60 years after the only other time it has taken place in England – when the home team also recorded their only ever victory.