England’s 2018 World Cup hopes fading, warns Coe
Olympic bid champion calls for more action from under-fire bid leader Lord Triesman
It appears their lordships are not seeing eye to eye over England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. Lord (Sebastian) Coe, who was made a non-executive director to bring his Olympic experience to the football bid, has expressed concern that England's hopes of playing host to the competition for the first time since 1966 are dwindling under the chairmanship of Lord (David) Triesman.
According to the Times, Coe has warned that the battle for votes among the 24 members of the Fifa executive committee who will make the decision between the competing countries next year, is in severe danger of being lost. He is reported to have held emergency talks with Lord Triesman, who is also chairman of the FA, in which he said the bid would be lost unless Triesman was capable of demonstrating stronger leadership. World-class stadiums and a commitment to a strong legacy were not enough, said Coe.
The next meeting of the bid's board will be on November 24, at which Triesman is likely to come under more pressure for his inability to devote more than two days a week to the £100,000-a-year role.
The tension between Coe and Triesman follows the public embarrassment caused by Jack Warner from Trinidad & Tobago, one of the most powerful members of the 24-man Fifa committee, when he angrily returned to Triesman a handbag sent as a gift to his wife.
A £230 Mulberry bag was sent by the England bid team - well within the World Cup competition guidelines - to the wife of each of the 24 Fifa committee members.
Warner immediately returned his wife's bag, stating that it had become "a symbol of derision, betrayal and embarrassment for me and my family". It seems Warner, president of Concacaf, the FA for North and Central America and the Caribbean, did not take issue with the gift itself, but with the fact that it been made public. Then, after writing to Triesman, he was furious when news of his letter made the news as well.
Warner's influence at Fifa is strong, especially in Africa, and according to sources within Fifa talking to the Times, his row with Triesman is likely to result in "at least another two votes and probably more like another three or four votes" being lost.
If that is the case, then England's bid is in danger of losing its way, especially given that two other bids - one from Russia, the other a joint bid from Spain and Portugal - are said to be gaining favour. ·
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