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Page last updated at 11:25 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 12:25 UK

Beckham to back 2018 bid at draw

David Beckham
Beckham hopes to emulate his success with the 2012 London Olympic bid

David Beckham plans to boost the England 2018 World Cup bid by attending December's draw in South Africa for next year's World Cup finals.

England's bid has come under pressure after Fifa vice-president Jack Warner said it was "plodding along" and should make more use of stars like Beckham.

The LA Galaxy player will head to Cape Town on 4 December for the 2010 draw.

"Given the MLS season ends in November, I'll be in South Africa in December," said the 34-year-old.

BBC Sport understands that concerns over the level of progress have led to Lord Triesman, chairman of the Football Association and the bid, being asked by his fellow 2018 board members to devote more time to the campaign.

A board meeting this week was said to have involved a "tough" conversation but there remains a firm belief the bid is winnable.

If we were given the World Cup and it was held next week, we would be ready

David Beckham

"Sources say there was no question of him being given an ultimatum by other board members, but clearly there are strong views on the right way forward," said BBC Radio 5 live sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar.

"There is a feeling things just need to get a bit more serious, that the profile of the bid needs to be raised.

"An influential member of Fifa is criticising the bid and that's got some traction. He feels England need to get themselves out and about and do the hard sell and that feedback needs to be taken seriously."

Beckham looks set to take the kind of high-profile role that helped London's successful 2012 Olympic bid, and he insists he is serious about lending his support to the 2018 process.

"If I can fly to different countries and help us have a chance of getting this then I'll do that," he said.

"I was honoured to be involved in the Olympic bid and we were successful there and I was asked to be an ambassador of this one. So of course I accepted it and I'm serious about it."


The FA has been wary about repeating the mistakes of the failed 2006 World Cup bid, during which their campaign was seen by some in governing body, Fifa, to have overplayed England's historical place in the game.

"Just because we are England, love the game and we're one of the biggest nations for the game, it doesn't mean we are taking this bid lightly," said Beckham.

"I think we're right because we are a nation that loves the game. The facilities around our country are exceptional. You look at the stadiums and they are second to none. If we were given the World Cup and it was held next week, we would be ready.

"If we want something like the World Cup in our country it's not just given to you, you have to get things right and make a lot of people happy. We plan on doing that. Hopefully we can get it."

And the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder is keen to project an air of humility around the England bid in the wake of Warner's criticism.

"Everyone has their opinions and say things that we need to do," said Beckham. "We need to take that on board. It's not something that you just dismiss.

"You have to take advice and criticism from people because you learn from that. You have to learn from people who have high ranking and know a lot about it.

"That's been where the criticism has come from so we take that on board and we have to learn from things.

"And we will do because we are not expecting this - we want to get it. We're not taking anything for granted."

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see also
Brady takes England 2018 bid role
13 Oct 09 |  Internationals
England 'must improve 2018 bid'
07 Oct 09 |  Football
Rivals unite for World Cup bid
23 Jul 09 |  Merseyside
Beckenbauer boost for England bid
05 Jul 09 |  Internationals
2018 bid chief calls for humility
18 May 09 |  Football
Triesman calls for World Cup bid support
18 May 09 |  Internationals
The race to host World Cup 2018 and 2022
17 Mar 09 |  Internationals

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