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David Beckham to hand over England's 2018 World Cup bid

David Beckham
Beckham is an official ambassador for England's 2018 bid

By David Bond
BBC Sports Editor

David Beckham will front the presentation of England's 2018 World Cup bid book to Fifa in Zurich on Friday.

Officials from the 2018 bid are set to confirm on Monday that the ex-England captain will hand the submission to Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Bid leaders believe Beckham's status as a global footballing icon will give England an edge over their rivals.

Fifa will make its decision on the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December.

The race to stage the 2018 World Cup is about to enter its most serious phase so far.

606: DEBATE

Each of the bidding countries must enter hundreds of pages of technical information outlining details of venues, training camps, ticketing, government guarantees, transport and, crucially, estimates for how much the World Cup will cost to stage and how much income it will generate.

This is likely to be a crucial factor in Fifa's assessment of each of the bids as they have indicated they do not want countries overstretching themselves as the world still comes to terms with the fall-out from the global economic downturn.

England's bid team are seeing that as a major boost to their chances as they believe they offer Fifa a safe bet after riskier World Cups in South Africa this summer and Brazil in 2014.

A specialised and secure 18-ton truck left Wembley on Monday to transport the bid materials on the 613 mile (987km) journey from Wembley Stadium through France and Belgium to Fifa's headquarters in Zurich.

Beckham's role as an ambassador for England's bid could be crucial in the absence of a global football statesman or Lord Coe type figure to front the Football Association's campaign.

A bid source said: "David Beckham is a global football icon and a great role model and it is entirely appropriate that he should hand over the bid."

Lord Triesman and David Beckham
Beckham has visited South Africa to prepare for England's 2018 bid

Each bid will be assessed by a team of Fifa inspectors later in the year before a report will be prepared for the 24 members of the Fifa executive committee, which will make its decision in December.

With Europe widely expected to be given the 2018 World Cup, the contest is expected to be a three-way fight between England, Russia and a joint bid from Spain and Portugal.

Australia, the United States and Belgium-Netherlands are also in the running.

Australian officials left for Zurich on Monday after a government-brokered deal ended months of bitter wrangling.

The rival codes of Australian rules football (AFL), rugby league and rugby union had been in dispute with Football Federation Australia (FFA) over the use of the nation's best stadiums should the country win the right to hold the event.

But a memorandum of understanding signed at the weekend will allow the other codes to continue their seasons and would compensate them for vacating venues and relocating games.

"We have the unified support of the nation behind our bid and we are ready to host the biggest sporting event in the world," said FFA chairman Frank Lowy.

"This is great news for football and great news for the whole country as everyone will benefit if we win the right to host a World Cup."

Any World Cup held in Australia would have to be played in the coldest time of the southern hemisphere winter to avoid clashing with the European leagues.

That would put the tournament in direct competition with Australia's most popular sports, which have long-term leasing agreements with the biggest venues.

The AFL said that 90 games would need to be rescheduled or moved if Australia were successful with the bid.

The Australian Rugby Union, who said they "fully" supported the bid, said a World Cup would affect matches in the Super 15, which would need to be rescheduled, and also Wallabies Test matches in June.



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see also
Beckham pledges 2018 bid effort
03 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010
England vaunts 2018 World Cup bid
01 Dec 09 |  Business
Warner supports England 2018 bid
28 Nov 09 |  World Cup 2010
Infighting harms 2018 bid - Brady
25 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Richards resigns from 2018 board
24 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Fifa man hands back England gift
04 Nov 09 |  Football
2018 bid gives handbags as gifts
23 Oct 09 |  Football
England 'must improve 2018 bid'
07 Oct 09 |  Football
Rivals unite for World Cup bid
23 Jul 09 |  Merseyside


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