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Counting the cost of 2018 - Is there a silver lining?


England's failure to land the World Cup in 2018 may well have cost the FA the reported £15 million or so spent on the bid itself. But that figure palls into insignificance when you consider the likely financial fall-out in the next few years.

As a business dealing with a host of companies involved in all levels of the game as well as clubs from the Premier League to grass roots - we have a decent finger on football's pulse - and it is feeling weaker already.

The FA will no doubt have to be more inward looking and in the long run that might mean more attention being paid to lower levels of football. It might also mean more emphasis being paid on the need for the national side to prove the 22 FIFA Execs wrong - by winning the World Cup in Brazil or Russia. Or more likely, doing well in Euro 2012 in Poland/Ukraine.

The latter is a market for many UK companies in our opinion. We spent a week there last year with a top flight club, looking at various commercial ideas.

On the commercial side, there are huge opportunities for companies to open new markets as the tournament gets closer.   The point is, we will need to get over this disappointment and fast.

If companies can make an impact in Poland and Ukraine, then there are certainly going to be opportunities in Russia.

The UK has many of the leading edge of ticketing and access systems. The UK leads the world in football safety and security, and has some of the best skills when it comes to merchandise and media.

South Africa was lorded as a huge success by FIFA - but in terms of corporate take-up it was a disaster. With so much expertise in the Premier League, companies in the UK are in pole position to get involved in this side of the 2018 event and ensure it is a huge success.

Here may be a silver lining after all to what looked like a pretty dark cloud last Thursday.

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