Dein meets Blatter to save England 2018 World Cup bid

12 November 2010 08:30

England 2018's international president David Dein has met FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich in an effort to revive the struggling bid to host the World Cup.

Dein met Blatter and FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke at FIFA headquarters on Wednesday, just three weeks before the vote by the 24-man executive committee of the world governing body.

The meeting gave Dein the opportunity to try to limit any further damage to the bid from BBC Panorama's investigation after bid leaders admitted a recent Sunday Times sting had caused significant harm to their chances.

England 2018 need to pull out all the stops because at the moment they look to be behind both Spain/Portugal and Russia - though ahead of Holland/Belgium - in the race for 2018.

There has been a boost for England after it was confirmed that Prince William and prime minister David Cameron will be part of their delegation for next month's vote, according to a confidential FIFA list.

The prince and Cameron are included on a list of top VIPs from all bidding countries due to attend the December 2 vote for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. The list, which has been seen by Press Association Sport, so far includes four prime ministers, Prince William, two heads of state, plus former US president Bill Clinton and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Kahlifa Al-Thani.

Prince William is president of the Football Association and England 2018 have long had high hopes that he would attend the presentations ahead of the vote by FIFA's 24-man executive committee.

St James' Palace would not confirm on Thursday whether the prince would be going to Zurich. For security reasons, members of the Royal family's movements are not usually confirmed until much closer to the date of travel.

The prime minister has become heavily involved in trying to revive England's bid after it was "significantly damaged" by the fall-out from the Sunday Times investigation into FIFA.

England 2018 had submitted a provisional and confidential list to FIFA and this is the first time that the presence of both dignitaries has been confirmed. England can include 30 people in their delegation and bid leaders also hope David Beckham will be going to Zurich to back the bid.

Source: PA