She had “wanted revenge after losing her job.” Her “lies had gone too far,” and she had signed a legal affidavit retracting her allegations.
Do we believe her as we believed her then: remembering that in the interim Bin Hammam of Qatar had been found guilty by the FIFA ethics committee of trying, for huge sums of money, to bribe members of CONCACAF.
For my part, I find it impossible to believe that Qatar, that wretched little anonymity of a football country, with its summer steam heat, would ever have been able to acquire the World Cup – even with the vote and support for a winter tournament of the deluded Michel Platini. I’ve no idea what caused Phaedra so radically to change her mind. Well, no: I think I can hazard a guess.
Meanwhile, in Harare, Dracula met the Wolf Man. That horrible murdered and starver of his people Robert Mugabe, was photographed cosying up to the shameless Sepp Blatter. And what was the ineffable president of FIFA doing in Zimbabwe anyway? He has after all by whatever expedient hung on to the presidency for the next four years, so he wouldn’t even need Zimbabwe’s vote. Each picture, as we know, tells a story, and what an emetic story this was.
In Westminster, the so-called Culture Media and Sport committee of dull blowhards has recently and uselessly wagged a rheumatic finger at FIFA, and impugned the English bid for the 2018 World Cup.
I would readily admit that the bid committee, under the ineffectual Andy Anson, an Adam Crozier-like figure who seems perpetually to be employed in profitable work, cut a feeble figure in Zurich. Now to grovel as the blessed Lord Triesman had, to the repugnant Jack Warner, now seemingly reduced in his native Trinidad to a glorified inspector of trains.
Anson and co. had told us that they’d never realised FIFA meant to give those two World Cups to countries which had never had one before – oh no, not countries which had bribed them! And crassly blamed Panorama for that programme on the evening of voting, when they showed us what Augean stable it all was. For the benefit of the Culture and All that’s blockheaded members, the only way the admittedly wasted £15 million could have been successfully spent would alas have been in bribing the voting FIFA committee members.
Russia, in the interim, can be glad that Qatar so blatant in its skullduggery, has for the moment at least taken the heat off them. Quite apart from the appalling racism which afflicts the crowds at Russian football, as Roberto Carlos has found to his dismay – a volley of bananas discharged at him being the latest humiliation – it has been pointed out that Russia’s creaking, dated, dangerous domestic aircraft regularly crash and represent a hazard to those unfortunate fans who will have to fly in them.