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England World Cup bid backed by Brazil

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 29 November 2009

England will have the backing of the world's biggest football nation as the Football Association steps up its bid to host the 2018 World Cup this week.

David Beckham and Wayne Rooney (picture: Reuters)

David Beckham and England manager Fabio Capello will both travel to South Africa, where the draw will be made for next year's World Cup finals.

The FA are banking on both men being able to open doors with the 24 members of the Fifa executive committee that will decide next year which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

And in an exclusive interview with Channel 4 News, President Lula of Brazil has said England should be selected.

Brazil has already been chosen to host the 2014 World Cup and President Lula's comments will carry significant weight because the South American country has a reputation for supporting bids for football reasons rather than being motivated by politics.

President Lula said: "I believe that the last one that England hosted, the first and only one was in 1966. And so that's already been 44 years ago that the UK hosted the Fifa cup.

"I think now is the time for the UK to host a Fifa cup again. The soccer that England has been presenting and the capacity of their clubs and by the competitive insurance for finance and investments I believe that England will always have the competence and will always be a country that will have a great force, great strength to win bid for the Fifa cup."

Also speaking to Channel 4 News, FA chairman Lord Triesman welcomed President Lula's endorsement.

He said: "I think it's really important. He's been a huge a fan, a huge advocate of English football; he loves it. I remember when he made his state visit he made a joke that we might have introduced Brazil to football and taught them how to do it, but they'd become the teachers and we’d become the pupils.

"He's always had a really strong, positive view of English football. When he was over a couple of weeks ago and I had the chance to have a conversation with him he was clear about wanting us to have the World Cup here. So it's so welcome and I’m delighted he’s made it."

But England's bid has endured some negative publicity in recent months.

Earlier this year the FA was criticised for giving Mulberry handbags to the wives of Fifa's executive committee members, key executive Jack Warner suggested the England bid team were complacent and Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards resigned from the 2018 bid board.

Lord Triesman played down suggestions that those stories made the bid look a shambles.

He added: "It's been pretty disappointing, and I've felt disappointed.

"There are always arguments in football – you expect to have the arguments, resolve them, get on with it without people going outside the board and expressing the same criticisms they might have or arguments they might have had in the board.

"But everybody's moved beyond it, and one of the things that I think is very important is that people who have been involved all the way through have committed themselves personally to going around the world and being advocates.

"Dave's going to go round the world as he has been, and I think he can do that very well, and the prestige of the Premier League is very important.

"David Gill, the chief executive of Manchester United is tremendous, a really, really great leader in English football. He is down in Kuala Lumpur meeting people from the Asian Federation.

"I shouldn't think most English fans are interested in me or possibly even Dave, I think they'd say that they're interested in wanting the World Cup here.

"I took the view at the beginning, even by the time I'd first arrived, that there were different views about how to run the World Cup, and the World Cup bid, and some of those involved arguments.

"I thought it would be possible to get everyone into the room, do what you do do in meetings - you all have an argument, heads get banged together, you come out with a position and you argue for that position.

"Perhaps I've tried for a consensus pretty hard and haven't succeeded. If that's my fault then I accept that. But what we've now got is a very slimmed-down, very focused group, and we are dividing the worked up because we've got to win the votes of as many of the 24 as we can.

"There isn't one size fits all. Different people among that 24 are interested in different things, so it isn't rather, as it was say in 2006, where someone with the status of France was known to all, it wasn't that kind of operation or campaign.

"So I think we've now got the right group, and the right enthusiasm and indeed the people who are no longer on the board have already shown, they're going out and meeting the very people we need them to meet and having a real impact as well."

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