Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We Have to Stand Up for Our City and Its Finances. If We Believe FIFA Is Discredited Then the World Cup Selection Process Was and We Are Owed Money'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'We Have to Stand Up for Our City and Its Finances. If We Believe FIFA Is Discredited Then the World Cup Selection Process Was and We Are Owed Money'

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

THE man who led Newcastle's effort to host the World Cup has urged the FA to help recover council costs from the bid.

Former City Council leader David Faulkner has written to his successor Nick Forbes asking him to express concerns to the FA over FIFA's "deeply flawed" process.

Newcastle and Gateshead council spent between them pounds 200,000 bidding to be a host city for the 2018 games, while Sunderland Council spent another pounds 400,000.

Mr Faulkner believes the authorities were allowed to spend the money despite "never" having "a chance", because of a bias towards "new lands".

The open letter, published in full in The Journal today, was timed to coincide with "an increasing level of concern about the running of FIFA", ahead of Sepp Blatter's successful re-election as President of the Federation.

In his letter to the council boss Mr Faulkner said: "Having been very closely associated with the Newcastle Gateshead input to the England bid, I now believe the whole process was deeply flawed.

"Repeated allegations of bribery have not been satisfactory answered, and Sepp Blatter himself admitted in February that the Spanish and Qatar teams traded votes. How much more of this went on?" He adds: "I would ask that you consider writing to the English Football Association to ask FIFA to repay the costs of the country's bid, around pounds 15m we were told.

"Cash-strapped local councils contributed pounds 2m of this, of which Newcastle and Gateshead Councils coughed up over pounds 200,000, Sunderland twice as much, plus a great deal of staff time.

"We should ask for it back, and in doing so we would be making the point that we are very unhappy about the entire process and the whole FIFA set up." Speaking to The Journal Mr Faulkner said there was little chance of recovering the costs, but insisted there was a point to be made. …

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