The England's 2018 world cup hopes have suffered yet another blow today, after governing body FIFA returned the FA's bid book, complaining that it had been 'defaced with substantial amounts of childish scribbling'.
The 1,752 page dossier, handed to FIFA president Sepp Blatter by soccer legend David Beckham in Zurich last week, has purportedly been covered with a number of immature doodles, including a crude crayon drawing of a stick figure woman with large breasts. 'The originator obviously has some affection for this figure,' complained a FIFA spokesman, 'judging by the amount of X kisses drawn next to it.'
In addition, a number of graphs detailing the seating capacity of England's major stadiums has been coloured in, while a section highlighting the bid's eco credentials has simply been overwritten with the word 'boring' in large capital letters.
The back cover of the book has also been defaced; bearing a large Chad labelled 'wot no kickbacks?' The document also includes an arrow-pierced love heart bearing the legend 'Lord T 4 Mel', with the 'Mel' crossed out and replaced by the words, written in more legible handwriting, 'sneaky bitch'.
World Cup Bid 2018/2022 has been beset with problems from the outset, with several members of the bid team falling out over the exact format of the dossier. 'Most of us were happy with the layout of the book,' said one anonymous FA insider, 'but one high-profile person kept insisting on a pop-up, or at least lift-the-flap, version.'
The English FA has staunchly defended its bid team against accusations of tampering, maintaining that none of the books were taken out of their packaging during the flight to Zurich. Meanwhile, newly installed FA bid leader Geoff Thompson is said to be grilling the chief executive of Jacobprint, the company responsible for printing the document; and was last seen taking the 37-year-old privately educated economics and biology graduate out to lunch at RusOlé!, the trendy restaurant that she part-owns with a Spanish-Russian business associate.