Report criticises 2018 bid team's campaign groundwork

England's World Cup bid failed despite calling on the likes of Prince William, prime minister David Cameron David Beckham
England's bid failed despite calling on the big guns to lobby Fifa

A report by MPs into England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup says the Football Association has failed to learn lessons from previous attempts.

The England bid received only two votes as the finals were awarded to Russia.

The report says: "England's bid team appears to have lacked a number of the components of a successful bid."

It calls on the FA to hold a review and criticises Fifa's response to recent bribery claims.

England's bid team were confident of success but were knocked out of the process in the first round, despite having Prince William and David Beckham as the figureheads of their presentation in Zurich in December.

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The report, from the culture, media and sport committee, states: "Lessons did not appear to have been learned from previous studies with regard to the composition and unity of the bid team, and the messages it needed to project."

In response to the report, the FA insisted they are already working on the issues raised by the report.

A spokesman said: "The FA made its own position clear on the need for governance reform within Fifa during the recent Fifa Congress and it welcomes the shared views of the committee in this regard.

"Our focus is now on ensuring that the FA and all of English football work towards building stronger and more enduring international relationships.

"We can confirm that the FA chairman David Bernstein has begun a process of evaluating our current representation on Fifa and Uefa committees, while determining how we can best strengthen our international relationships, both formally and informally."

The MPs also backed the BBC's decision to screen a Panorama documentary into allegations of corruption inside Fifa in the same week as the vote was held.

At the time the move was described as "unpatriotic" by former bid chief executive Andy Anson, but the new report says it was "amply justified by the public interest in Fifa governance and, more generally, in independent and impartial journalism".

The programme's allegations of corruption "appalled" the committee, and it believes there should have been a full, independent investigation into them by world football's governing body.

"Instead, Fifa has given every impression of wishing to sweep all allegations of misconduct under the carpet and of dismissing anyone bringing allegations to them with an approach bordering on contempt," says the report.

It also looked at the allegations of unethical behaviour made by former England 2018 bid leader Lord Triesman against four Fifa members, which led to FA commissioning barrister James Dingemas to investigate further.

Fifa said there was no evidence to support further investigation into these claims, but the report believes that was a "disappointing and inadequate" response.

"While the review does not confirm the allegations made by Lord Triesman, neither does it refute them," the report says.

"It does find enough corroborative evidence to merit further investigation."

Fifa also comes under fire for its "extraordinary" recent decision to drop a bribery investigation into former vice-president Jack Warner after he resigned from his role.

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"It suggests that nothing has changed," says the report. "As a first step towards restoring confidence we call upon Fifa to publish the ethics committee report."

A department for culture, media and sport spokesman said: "We welcome the select committee report on the 2018 World Cup bid and agree with its desire for a more transparent and accountable world governing body.

"Sepp Blatter has said that he will reform Fifa and we hope that the FA will play a key part in that.

"Sports minister Hugh Robertson will continue to press for change, if it does not happen, through his relationship with the FA and European sports ministers. We will respond in full to the select committee in due course."