I heard this first on the radio and there was definitely an outbreak of Beatles-type screaming before FIFA boss Sepp Blatter had actually announced the winner of the competition to host the 2018 World Cup.
For some reason the skewed old Swiss watch repeated himself but that didn’t stop the Russian supporters bursting into cheers and screams before he actually said Russia had won. Here’s the TV coverage.
So clearly they knew they’d won beforehand.
And might this indicate why Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin didn’t bother to turn up to Zurich for any last minute lobbying?
He knew perfectly well that Russia had won already.
All he had to do was organise his flight in for tonight’s triumphal press conference. And organising a flight in snow-bound northern Europe isn’t easy at short notice. So Vlad knew he’d be on.
It makes David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham, England’s ‘three lions’ last minute bid team, look like complete suckers.
Latest conspiracy theories have Chelsea owner Roman Abramovitch and his millions behind this stitch-up. Abramovitch has long bankrolled the Russian football federation, even paying former manager Guus Hiddink’s £6m annual salary. Abramovitch is also said to have just sold some of his oil interests in Russia to its government on advantageous terms.
There’s a fishy pong from Zurich slicing through the frozen Alpine air.
And as for choosing ‘football crazy’ Qatar for the 2022 World Cup….