The negotiations preceding the Fifa World Cup venue vote show how difficult it is to negotiate when you don’t understand or appreciate the other side’s needs.

The FA has been complaining long and loud about the way the vote was handled. Certainly if you judge the vote by the organisational requirements that Fifa put forward, Then England should have achieved a lot more than 2 votes. After all they got the best marks for their technical report on infrastructure, organisation and stadia. However, there’s no point complaining about the process of the negotiation and then participating in it. If you think the process is unfair and win/lose then don’t take part. If you are going to take part then you have to play by the rules of the competition you have entered.

Having elected to take part in the bid process, England should have realised that the, organisational requirements in a negotiation (like the number of stadia and infrastructure requirements) are one thing, and the personal requirements of the negotiators on the other side are something else. These personal needs always drive any negotiation, even if they are not made explicit. So, what the England bid team had to do was to identify the individual needs of the Fifa vote-holders and meet those needs.

It is no use complaining darkly, as the FA and the notorious Panorama programme did, that some of the 22 members of the Fifa panel required and took bribes. In my experience when people say they need money, there is normally some other requirement under-pinning that need which can be met another way. People may say they need money because it makes them feel respected, or because it gives them a sense of achievement or because it makes them feel part of a certain club or group to which they aspire. Normally these needs can be addressed by imaginative negotiators, in other ways than simply by throwing money at the requirement.

Furthermore, Fifa has been transparent about wanting to take the Football World Cup to all corners of the Globe. It has never been held in Russia or the Middle East. That is an “achievement” need. What did Team-England do to address that need in their bid?

So, the problem may be not just that the voting process lacks transparency and accountability. It may be that the England team were simply not sophisticated enough in the way they addressed the needs of the Fifa voting panel. Sticking up their hands now and claiming “offside” is not an answer.