Coe backs bid to succeed

24 November 2010 05:30

Lord Coe insists England's World Cup bid team can overcome any negative impact from the Panorama expose of FIFA and land the 2018 tournament at next week's vote.

Coe, who succeeded in bringing the 2012 Olympic Games to London five years ago, urged the country's delegates to bombard the world governing body's executive committee with positive messages in the build-up to next Thursday's decision in order to counter any fallout from the programme three days earlier.

"You have to focus absolutely on the job at hand. (Outside) noises are not what is going to get you across the line; they're not going to stop you getting across the line," said Lord Coe.

"It is really a very important discipline in the process of a bid to just simply focus on the messages.

"You deliver those messages right to the moment where there is nowhere else to go and you maintain clear heads."

Panorama's will be the second media investigation into FIFA in recent weeks after a Sunday Times exposure which led to six FIFA officials being banned.

There are fears that investigation has hurt England's bid to land the 2018 tournament, with some FIFA members unhappy with what they viewed as entrapment. Coe's bid to bring the Olympics to London is widely believed to have been boosted by then Prime Minister Tony Blair's three days of lobbying IOC members prior to the vote.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that current PM David Cameron will spend a similar amount of time at FIFA headquarters in Zurich ahead of next week's vote, something Coe believes could prove decisive.

"I think it's very important," he said.

"I know from feedback that he's made a big impression with the engagement that he's had so far in this process. And it is very important that the executive committee members of FIFA know that this bid has the full support from the very highest political level in the land."

Source: PA