Becks: Bid loss "huge disappointment"
David Beckham spoke of his "huge disappointment" after England were eliminated in the first round of voting for the right to host World Cup 2018 - although he refused to blame the media for the failure.
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BBC's Panorama programme, which alleged Fifa vice-president Issa Hayatou and two other officials voting on World Cup bids took bribes in the 1990s, was thought to have dealt a severe blow to England's chances of winning - but Beckham has refused to take aim at the media.
"It's obviously disappointing not coming away with the World Cup but I think the whole team can be proud of everything we've put through," Beckham said. "The presentation was exceptional, everyone has told us that it was one of the best - if not the best - presentation, but it just wasn't meant to be.
"No [sense of injustice], I think at the end of the day when you lose something you do feel that and you feel disappointed. I think there's more disappointment than anything right now. We'll process it over the next few days but the biggest thing is the disappointment.
"There's a lot of hard work gone behind the bid and a lot of belief we were going to get the World Cup. Huge disappointment but, like I said, we couldn't have done any more.
"We got very good feelings from almost all the members that we met, and we met every one, so obviously it's disappointing to go out in the first round, it's disappointing to not get the World Cup. But we send all our congratulations to Russia and Qatar.
"I don't know how damaging the [Panorama] allegations were, obviously I can't answer that question. I said during the week that our media has full support behind our bid and that doesn't change."
England bid board member Lord Sebastien Coe admitted that Russia's presentation had been shrewd and may have helped seal their success. The Russians pointed out that the World Cup had yet to be staged in eastern Europe, compared with the 10 times it has been held in the west of the continent.
"It was a very similar concept that Rio went for in Copenhagen [when they won their bid for the 2016 Olympic Games] just a few months ago,'' Lord Coe told BBC Radio Five. "They showed a great concentration of Olympic Games and World Championships had been in a few trusted and tried areas. I think that worked quite strongly for them today.''
Prime Minister David Cameron, who spent the past two days lobbying in Zurich, said: "It is desperately sad. There hasn't been a World Cup in England in my lifetime. I was hoping we could change that, but not this time.
"I'm bitterly disappointed. According to FIFA we had the best technical bid. No-one could identify any risks of coming to England. I think we had the strongest commercial bid and the country is passionate about football. But it turns out that's not enough.''
Spanish football federation (RFEF) sporting director Fernando Hierro was asked his thoughts on the reasons behind Russia's 2018 success and said: "They are the personal criteria of the 22 people who voted. We are convinced that our candidacy was wonderful and with wonderful professionals."
The former Real Madrid and Spain defender added: "Personally I'm hurt for my president [RFEF chief Angel Maria Villar], who is a man who has worked very hard."