11 June 2010
British and US Embassy diplomats place a friendly bet on World Cup
Diplomats have entered into the World Cup betting arena with a punt on Saturday’s match between the US and England, leaked emails have shown.
Philip Breeden, press secretary at the US Embassy in London, proposed the bet to the British Ambassador to Washington on behalf of US Ambassador Louis Susman, saying: "We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter."
The Americans are hoping the match will be a repeat of a 1950 shock World Cup upset of England.
The website politico.com published the emails, which show Martin Longden, press secretary at the British Embassy in Washington, replying: "Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your ambassador proposes this wager.
"It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation - since the British ambassador does not anticipate paying out."
Mr Longden also pretended to have no idea about the 1950 match, saying: "No doubt it is remembered fondly on these shores; we have quite forgotten it, however."
If England wins, the British ambassador Nigel Sheinwald will be treated to a meal at a steakhouse of his choosing in downtown Washington and if England loses, Sheinwald will take the US ambassador to a meal in a London pub.
In the emails Breeden said: "It is with great pleasure, and no small measure of anticipation, that the US Ambassador accepts the terms of the wager”.
Longden replied: "It's a bet! Incidentally, you should know that the ambassador takes his steak like American soccer victories - somewhat rare."