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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 17:37 GMT
Platini cool over England Cup bid
Uefa president Michel Platini
Platini says he will definitely back a European bid
Uefa president Michel Platini has told the BBC he is far from certain that England deserve to host the football World Cup in 2018.

Speaking on BBC News 24's Hardtalk programme, Platini said he would definitely back a European bid but that England still needed to "convince" him.

"As European president, we need to do our best for the best country to receive the Cup in 2018," he said.

"I hope for you it will be England but at the moment I have nothing to say."

I will vote for one European country, of course, and I will bring all my strength to bring all the European countries to vote for one

Michel Platini

The former France captain and playmaker spoke of concerns about the influence of money and a loss of identity in English football, previously referring to foreign ownership of Premier League clubs, and about teams such as Arsenal signing talented youngsters from around the world at an early age.

Since taking over as European footballing chief, Platini has also sent a letter to all European heads of government, highlighting what he called "the malign and ever-present influence of money" which represented a "serious threat".

England's bid has already received the backing of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and a combined Dutch-Belgian bid is also expected, with Russia widely tipped to enter the race but yet to formally declare their interest.

Competition from outside Europe is expected to come from China, Australia, Mexico and the USA.

"You will have to convince me," said Platini on England's chances.

"If there are two or three European countries going to bid, they all have to convince me.

"I am the president of Uefa, I can't say I will vote for England, I will vote for Russia, or I will vote for the Netherlands.

"I will vote for one European country, of course, and I will bring all my strength to bring all the European countries to vote for one, and to maybe help. I will do my job.

"But why England, why not Russia or the Netherlands? We will look."

European backing will be crucial to England's chances of hosting the tournament.

The failure of England's bid for the 2006 World Cup was influenced by the suggestion that the Football Association had broken a gentleman's agreement by bidding against Germany, which cost them vital support.

The full interview can be heard on Hardtalk on BBC News 24 at 2330 GMT on Tuesday

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