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Prime Minister David Cameron focused on World Cup bid

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England bid incredibly strong - Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron insists he will ignore the furore over corruption claims levelled at Fifa as he tries to secure the 2018 World Cup for England.

Cameron arrived in Zurich on Tuesday to lobby Fifa executive committee members ahead of Thursday's crucial vote.

"I have got one focus here and that is to try to bring the World Cup home for England," he told BBC Sport.

"I am going to be pressing on them the brilliance of English football. That is going to be the concern, nothing else."

Cameron is part of a 30-strong England 2018 delegation that also includes Prince William and former England captain David Beckham.

The prime minister met Fifa president Sepp Blatter before talks with vice-president Jack Warner and other members of world football's governing body.

"I think we have got an incredibly strong case - the best technical bid," Cameron told BBC sports editor David Bond. "We can make the best commercial success of the World Cup.

VOTING PROCEDURE
1 Dec: 2022 bids make 30-minute final presentations to Executive Committee (ExCo) at Fifa headquarters in Zurich
Order: Australia (1300 GMT), South Korea (1400 GMT), Qatar (1500 GMT), USA (1600 GMT), Japan (1700 GMT)
2 Dec: 2018 bids make 30-minute final presentations to ExCo at Fifa headquarters
Order: Netherlands-Belgium (0800 GMT), Spain-Portugal (0900 GMT), England (1000 GMT), Russia (1100 GMT)
Process: Secret ballot of 22 ExCo members at Fifa headquarters
To win: One bid needs an absolute majority - 12 votes
If no majority: Bid with fewest votes drops out and another round of voting occurs until majority achieved
If tie: Fifa president Sepp Blatter has casting vote
Announcement: Results put in two envelopes and taken to Zurich Exhibition Centre, where Blatter announces winner (approx 1500 GMT)

"Also, if we want to enlarge the audience for football worldwide, I think England 2018 is the best way to do that. We will be making all those arguments.

"Britain is passionate about football. We can put on a really great show.

"We can have full stadiums, we have got everything necessary to make this work and we are going to give this 110% over the next couple of days."

Cameron's comments and presence in Zurich are a timely boost to the England camp a day after the broadcast of a BBC Panorama investigation of Fifa.

The programme accused three members of the Fifa executive committee - Nicolas Leoz, the president of South America's Conmebol federation, Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou and Brazilian Football Confederation president Ricardo Teixeira - of taking payments from a company that was subsequently awarded lucrative rights to the tournament.

Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, who will also vote on Thursday, was accused of attempting to sell World Cup 2010 tickets with a face value of £54,130 ($84,000) on to the black market.

Warner has brushed off the allegations, telling reporters: "I really have no interest in this matter... now or ever."

Beckham stated that Blatter had not been annoyed by the programme, but had raised it in discussions with him.

"He just mentioned it in the talk we had. Obviously it is not the most comfortable of things to talk about," said the 35-year-old former England captain.

"I think what we made clear to him, and what he already knows, is that, if we were to get the World Cup in our country in 2018, our media will be right behind it."

The International Olympic Committee has said it is to investigate BBC claims of corruption against Fifa vice-president Hayatou, who is also an IOC member.The IOC has also asked the BBC to hand over any evidence of alleged bribes taken by Fifa executives.

GORDON FARQUHAR'S BLOG

"The IOC has taken note of the allegations made by BBC Panorama and will ask the programme makers to pass on any evidence they may have to the appropriate authorities," the IOC said.

"The IOC has a zero tolerance [policy] against corruption and will refer the matter to the IOC Ethics Commission."

England have also been boosted by a report that claimed their bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals would generate more income than any of its rivals.

The findings of the report, carried out by management consultants McKinsey, were given to the Fifa executive committee on Monday.

England achieved a maximum rating in ticketing, television and media rights, sponsorship, hospitality as well as merchandising and licensing.

Russia, thought to be the favourite ahead of Thursday's vote, was ranked as the least lucrative of four bidders.

While England received a maximum overall rating, co-bidders Spain and Portugal were given a 91% score, the Netherlands and Belgium joint bid garnered 87%, while Russia picked up 86%.

Russia particularly lost ground to England in the hospitality category.

England have already been ranked joint highest with the Spain-Portugal bid in Fifa's own evaluation report on the prospective venues.

Media will back 2018 bid - Beckham

"Fifa gave us a very strong evaluation and have just published an economic study which puts England way ahead of its competitors," England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson commented.

"If you combine the two, we clearly have the strongest bid."

Russia's bid chairman Vitaly Mutko insisted that the report's conclusions would not have a major impact on the outcome of the contest.

"The report says that that Russia is perfectly capable of hosting the World Cup and is based on what could happen now and not in eight years time," Mutko said.

The 51-year-old executive committee member also denied his team had any arrangement with any of the candidates in Thursday's parallel vote to decide the event's hosts in 2022.

Fifa's ethics committee has previously dismissed suggestions of illegitimate collusion between Spain and Portugal's 2018 bid and Qatar, who hope to be awarded the 2022 edition.

"Russia has presented its bid and has not entered into any collusion or agreement with anyone," Mutko added.

"We would prefer these alliances not to happen and Russia would be very concerned about possible alliances."



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see also
Beckham has faith in Fifa members
01 Dec 10 |  Football
Media will back 2018 bid - Beckham
30 Nov 10 |  Football
World Cup vote explained
30 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa chief denies bribery claims
01 Dec 10 |  Europe
England 'underdogs' in 2018 vote
29 Nov 10 |  Football
Prince asks fans to back 2018 bid
27 Nov 10 |  Football
England stars join 2018 bid team
26 Nov 10 |  Football
Russia 2018 bid dealt Fifa blow
17 Nov 10 |  Football
England 2018 bid rated 'low risk'
16 Nov 10 |  Football
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football


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