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David Cameron to visit Zurich for 2018 World Cup bid

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We are at a critical time - England's 2018 international president David Dein

By James Pearce
BBC sports news correspondent

Prime Minister David Cameron will spend three days in Zurich next week lobbying on behalf of England's 2018 World Cup bid, Downing Street has announced.

The prime minister's decision to travel to Switzerland so far in advance of the 2 December vote will be seen as a major boost to England's campaign.

Cameron is likely to meet most of the 22 members of Fifa's executive committee during his visit.

Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium are also vying for the vote.

Cameron had been expected to be in Zurich for the final hours of the campaign, but it has now been agreed that he will travel to Switzerland on Tuesday, more than 48 hours before the Fifa vote.

He is likely to return briefly to London for Prime Minister's Questions on the Wednesday, before flying back to Zurich later that evening.

Cameron is set to play an important role in England's half-hour presentation to Fifa ahead of the vote.

606: DEBATE

He will take to the stage alongside the campaign's other highest-profile ambassadors in Zurich, Prince William and former England captain David Beckham.

There is no clear front-runner, and the England bid team will hope that the prime minister's presence will be enough to win over some of the key undecided voters.

With the prospect of such a close contest, it is almost certain that second and third preference votes will end up being decisive.

After each round of voting, if there is no clear winner with more than 50% of the vote, the bid with the least votes will be eliminated.

Cameron's arrival in Zurich two days before the vote will mirror former Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision to travel early to Singapore in 2005, when he was campaigning on behalf of the London 2012 Olympics.

Blair was widely perceived to have stolen a march on his rivals, most notably France president Jacques Chirac, by beginning his face-to-face lobbying before other world leaders arrived in the country.

Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is expected to lead the lobbying campaign for his country's bid in Zurich. It is not yet known when he will arrive in Switzerland.

The Fifa executive committee usually comprises 24 members, with one vote each.

That was reduced to 22 last week when Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti were suspended following a Sunday Times investigation into corruption.



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see also
Dein calls for 2018 bid support
23 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa 'corruption' pair given bans
18 Nov 10 |  Football
Russia 2018 bid dealt Fifa blow
17 Nov 10 |  Football
England 2018 bid rated 'low risk'
16 Nov 10 |  Football
England 2018 team write to Fifa
15 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa row has hit England 2018 bid
04 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa official condemns vote sting
02 Nov 10 |  African


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