Sir Bobby Charlton believes former sports minister Tony Banks helped pave the way for London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics.
Banks, who died on Sunday at the age of 62, spearheaded England's ultimately unsuccessful 2006 World Cup bid.
But Charlton, who worked with Banks on the bid, told BBC News 24: "He worked tirelessly to get the World Cup.
"I'm very pleased someone has mentioned that the work he did really might have resulted in the Olympics success."
Culture secretary Tessa Jowell agreed that Banks' experience during the World Cup bid had been crucial to the Olympic effort.
"Tony, with complete frankness and candour and in many self-deprecating moments, shared a lot of what he felt went wrong with the World Cup bid to help us do better with the Olympics," she told BBC Radio 4.
Banks was appointed sports minister in 1997 by Tony Blair, holding the post until 1999 when he resigned in order to concentrate on England's World Cup bid.
He was a dedicated supporter of Chelsea, and the club says it is still planning an "appropriate tribute".
"Chelsea Football Club, and all its fans, have lost a great friend and fanatical supporter," said a club statement.
"Tony's knowledge and love of Chelsea was unparalleled. He always had the club close to his heart and in recent years worked with us on many projects.
"Only recently he was masterminding the formation of an Old Boys Trust to help ex-Chelsea players and was a tireless member of the club's Centenary Committee.
"He will be greatly missed and the club will discuss over the coming days what would be an appropriate tribute to his passing."
Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson also added his tribute.
"We were deeply saddened to learn of Tony Banks' death," he said.
"He was a dedicated supporter of the World Cup bid and a true football fan.
"He will be remembered as a committed Sports Minister and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."