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David Beckham promotes England 2018 bid in South Africa

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We're ready to host World Cup - Beckham

David Beckham says he will do everything in his power for England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Beckham and Football Association chief Lord Triesman are in South Africa to promote England's 2018 bid campaign at Friday's draw for the 2010 tournament.

"I'm well aware how important it is for our country and will do all I can," the former England captain told BBC Sport.

"It's difficult to get the World Cup to our country, but I wouldn't be here if I didn't think we could."

Beckham was an ambassador for the successful London 2012 Olympic campaign, and now has a similar role in the World Cup bid.

He said he was taking nothing for granted but England's footballing tradition and social make-up made it the perfect venue for the tournament.

"Football is in our culture, in our DNA," he said during a visit to an FA-backed training camp for children in a South African township on Thursday.

"It's in us from the moment we are brought into this world, from when we are born and that's something we will always have," he said.

There's a tremendous hunger in England for the World Cup - who better to tell that story than David Beckham?

Lord Triesman

"England is one of the few countries with its stadia and its infrastructure that could host a World Cup almost immediately, next week.

"The diversity of cultures around our country is a big thing as well. There are not many countries where you can have Brazil and Portugal and so on coming to our country and for there to be lots of their fans already there. That's a special thing for us."

During his time in South Africa, Beckham has had meetings with Fifa president Sepp Blatter and vice-president Jack Warner, and Lord Triesman said the bid could hardly look for a better advert than the former England captain.

"When he talks to people, even privately, the passion and patriotism shines out of him," said Lord Triesman.

"He helps convey the message we've not had the World Cup since 1966, and there's a tremendous hunger in England for it - who better to tell that story than David Beckham?"

The England midfielder is due to attend Friday's World Cup draw, despite the death of his 83-year-old grandfather Joseph West on Wednesday.

606: DEBATE

Although he did not mention the death of his grandfather, Beckham said in an interview on Fifa's website that "family comes above anything we achieve in our careers and in our lives."

Of the meeting with Blatter, he added: "It was a very relaxed, light-hearted conversation and it was good to speak to him.

"Mr Blatter is not just the Fifa president and a powerful man in football, but he's a very, very good person as well, which is more important.

"When I was last here with England I had the honour of meeting Nelson Mandela. That was the highlight of my career.

"To meet such a great man and a strong man and such a passionate man about sport and life will always stay with me."

Beckham visited an FA-backed training camp in a South African township

Beckham's meetings with Blatter and vice-president Warner were designed to show the bid in a more positive light.

The LA Galaxy star is seen as a pivotal figure in winning support for England's 2018 bid, which has suffered with its public relations and internal feuding at board level.

The 2018 bid team has been criticised for purchasing luxury handbags, one for the wife or partner of each of the 24 Fifa voters, with Warner returning the gift, describing his wife as "sacrosanct".

And Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards resigned from the board just weeks after six other board members stood down, while Karen Brady, one of those to quit her post, has stated the bid could be derailed by "infighting".

England is among 10 candidates hoping to stage the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Fifa's 24-member ruling executive will choose the hosts next December.



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see also
England vaunts 2018 World Cup bid
01 Dec 09 |  Business
Warner supports England 2018 bid
28 Nov 09 |  Internationals
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
Blair and Beckham boost 2012 bid
05 Jul 05 |  Olympics 2012
Rivals unite for World Cup bid
23 Jul 09 |  Merseyside


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