(ATR) The former leader of England’s failed 2018 FIFA World Cup bid has been named as the new chief executive of the British Olympic Association.
Making the announcement Monday, the BOA bizarrely omitted details about Anson’s England World Cup bid role, saying only that he had "considerable sports experience having previously worked in football and tennis as well as for leading sports retail and marketing organizations".
Anson, 54, spent two years heading the disastrous England World Cup bid team that cost £21 million ($27m). The bid suffered a humiliating first-round elimination in FIFA’s ballot for the 2018 host city in December 2010, attracting only two members' votes. Russia secured hosting rights and last year won plaudits for staging a successful World Cup.
Anson was among the English football critics who lambasted FIFA for running a flawed bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups that was tarnished by corruption and a cash-for-votes scandal. Bid chiefs felt the former FIFA president Sepp Blatter had a major hand in influencing executive committee members to reject England’s bid after British media allegations of corruption against FIFA rocked the governing body and damaged his reputation.
Less than six months after England’s bid failure, Anson was appointed as an unpaid independent non-executive director of the British Olympic Association, his first major role after the World Cup ballot defeat.
Eight years on, the former commercial director of Manchester United is appointed to the BOA in the full-time chief executive position, joining from Goals Soccer Centres where he was CEO.
Anson joins the BOA following the departure of former CEO Bill Sweeney who has taken up a similar role at the English Rugby Football Union. He is expected to start in the autumn.
The BOA will be hoping Anson’s "wealth of commercial and marketing experience" can help the independently-funded Olympic body to increase its revenues with little over a year to go before Tokyo 2020.
"Andy is a very high-grade individual who has a unique combination of sports experience and commercial expertise. We are delighted to have him on board to lead Team GB into Tokyo 2020 and beyond," said BOA chair Hugh Robertson.
Having worked in the sports industry for many years, Andy Anson said the BOA was an organisation "close to my heart".
"I am extremely motivated to play a role in the future of the organisation on behalf of the athletes and the member national governing bodies," he said in a statement.
"With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon I believe the BOA and Team GB has an exciting future ahead and I am delighted to be asked to lead a team of talented and dedicated professionals to ensure we give the athletes and sports every chance to succeed on sport’s biggest stage."
Reported by Mark Bisson
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