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The Bid

Dramatised account by Matthew Solon of England's failed bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

After five years of planning and an 18-month campaign to win votes costing more than £15m, England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup ended in humiliation in front of millions of TV viewers around the world.

Exactly a year after FIFA President Sepp Blatter walked onto the stage at the Messe Centre in Zurich and revealed that Russia would be hosting the 2018 World Cup, this drama tells the behind-the-scenes story of what happened in Zurich in the days leading up to the announcement on 2nd December 2010.

Focusing on the England bid team - which included David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham - the drama is based on interviews with many of those who were there, and on published material, and uses actors to play all the key characters.

The England bid team arrived in Zurich with high hopes. They were well organized, had a strong technical bid and their formal presentation to the FIFA voting executives went without a hitch - it was heartfelt, passionate and had the biggest A-list celebrities.

But behind England's super-confident presentation, a desperate struggle was taking place in hotel rooms and the corridors of FIFA's HQ in Zurich as England jostled with other countries, courting FIFA executive members, lobbying for votes and making deals.

This is a gripping story of hope, broken promises and disappointment - a compelling and entertaining insight into the business behind the game.

Andy Anson ..... Adrian Rawlins
Geoff Thompson ..... Richard Ridings
David Dein/Sepp Blatter ...... John Sessions
David Beckham/Prince William ..... James Hurn
David Cameron ..... Christopher Villiers
Jack Warner ..... Larrington Walker
Eddie Afekafe ..... Jermaine Liburd
Chuck Blazer ..... Glenn Wrage
Mohamed Bin Hamman ..... Nadim Sawalha
Voiceover ...... Justine Greene
Other parts ..... Dolya Gavanski & Tracy Ifeachor

Writen by Matthew Solon

Matthew is an award-winning writer whose work has regularly been heard on Radio 4. His drama about the collapse of Lehman Brothers, 'The Day That Lehman Died' won a coveted Peabody Award in the US as well as silver at the 2010 Sony Radio Awards. He also wrote 'Five Days In May', broadcast on Radio 4 last year, a dramatic reconstruction of the tense negotiations between the political parties after the last UK general election.

John's dramas for BBC Radio include the Sony Award winning "Q & A" (Aka Slumdog Millionaire), Bleak House, Fatherland, A Suitable Boy, A Tokyo Murder, The Cairo Trilogy, The Day That Lehman Died, Five Days In May and Severed Threads.

Director: John Dryden
A Goldhawk Essential Production for BBC Radio 4.

58 minutes