Disgruntled World Cup bid sponsor
Morrisons has written to Fifa boss Sepp Blatter to demand compensation for
campaign funds it believes were wasted.
The supermarket chain handed over
$1.6 million to support the England bid, which was lost in a process that
Morrisons described as “unfair”.
Chief executive Dalton Philips has
now called on Mr Blatter to “do the honourable thing” by handing over
the equivalent sum to charity.
Mr Philips said he believes England
did not ever have a hope of winning the competition, in light of Fifa’s comment
that the World Cup finals “should go to new lands”.
We hope Fifa will do the right
thing and offer $1.6 million to be invested in grassroots football.
In a statement, Morrisons said it
was disappointed on behalf of its customers that the merits of the England bid
were not recognised by Fifa, “which clearly was intent on locating the
2018 World Cup in an emerging country”.
Other top-tier sponsors of the
England bid – Umbro, BT and BA – would not say whether they would seek any
reimbursement for their campaign donations.
Morrisons announced in February it
had signed up to be a partner in the England bid, and it collected 1.65 million
customer signatures to demonstrate public enthusiasm.
Final results showed that, out of a
total of 22 votes, England gained just two, one of which was from Geoff
Thompson, the vice-president of Fifa.
The lack of support meant England
was knocked out in the first round, putting it last out of bids from Russia,
Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Holland.