4 Dec 2010

FA boss slams ‘untrustworthy’ Fifa over World Cup 2018

The Football Association’s acting chairman Roger Burden has told Channel 4 News why he felt he needed to step down after England failed to win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Roger Burden, the FA’s acting chairman, has told Channel 4 News he will not take the job full time in protest at Fifa and its decision-making process in what he called a “night of the long knives” after Russia was awarded World Cup 2018 ahead of England.

He explained: “I made the decision simply because I cannot trust many members of the Fifa executive committee and I recognise that if I were to become full-time chairman of the Football Association I would have to liase with them – but I’m not prepared to deal with people who I can’t trust and that’s why I’ve withdrwn my candidacy.

To only get two votes was almost unbelievable. Roger Burden

“It was a difficult decision – but I made it relatively quickly having seen what went on in Zurich and having made it I’m convinced I did the right thing.

“The background is quite well-known now in terms of the quality of our bid, it was measured to be equal best technically, best commercially and I think our presentation was absolutely the best.

“To only get two votes – one of which was our own Geoff Thomson – was almost unbelievable. And of course several members of the committee did promise Prince William that they would support us. Clearly that didn’t happen – and I thought that’s just unacceptable.”

He added: “This is my personal position. I’ve decided I don’t want to deal with people whose word you can’t take and you just can’t trust. That’s the personal position that I’ve adopted.