The fight for the 2018 World Cup
England officials are maintaining a respectful silence about recent events that have turned the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup into even more of a lottery. Perhaps they are lost for words.
England began this race as favourites. I presume in setting the odds, the bookmakers considered the facilities and the technical strength of England's bid, thought about the history, pondered the opposition, stuck a finger in the air, got a tarot reading, doubled the number they first thought of and then installed them at the top of their list.
Trying to second guess what Fifa, football's world governing body, will do is a fairly thankless task at the best of times - and now we are close to the worst of times.
Fifa is under scrutiny following claims about the World Cup bidding process. Photo: Reuters
Two of the 24 people who were due to decide the hosts of the 2018 competition - Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii - have been provisionally suspended following allegations of corruption and are currently awaiting the judgment of Fifa's ethics committee.
And if Adamu and Temarii cannot persuade the ethics committee of their innocence and the number of voters drops to 22, then some re-calibration has got to be done.
I do not know if England were hoping for the support of either Adamu or Temarii at any stage in the voting process but they might have to re-model their scenarios now.
Fifa is also investigating Spain and Portugal for alleged collusion to trade votes. If they end up being censured by the ethics committee, surely their chances of co-hosting the 2018 tournament are damaged?
And if they are censured, who does that benefit most? Possibly England, as the Iberian offer, like England's, is a "safe bet" bid, with stadiums built, infrastructure in place and the recent success of the 2004 European Championship a rosy glow.
On the other hand, South Africa worked out splendidly for the risk takers among Fifa's executive. That could mean Russia, which offers great potential and the chance of a strong physical legacy in terms of new stadiums and football development, remains under serious consideration.
And if there is a smaller electorate, the risk takers might have a louder voice.
But what about potential co-hosts Netherlands and Belgium, the last of the bidders for 2018? Is their offering a little dull maybe? Some at Fifa might think that is a good thing. The Belgian and Dutch media do not have quite the same reputation for applying merciless scrutiny as here at home and Fifa could do without any more scandals.
As to what this all might mean for England, I suggest a trip to a clairvoyant is just as valid as sticking with the bookies' tip right now.