UK Politics

David Cameron to witness 2018 World Cup decision

David Cameron and Sepp Blatter
Image caption David Cameron hosted Sepp Blatter in Downing Street last month as part of the charm offensive

David Cameron has confirmed he will travel to Zurich next month to support England's bid to host the World Cup.

World football's governing body Fifa announces its decision on where it will hold the 2018 tournament on 2 December.

England's bid leaders, who fear UK media claims of corruption inside Fifa have hurt their chances, hope the prime minister's presence will help the bid.

It faces fierce competition from Russia and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Belgium and the Netherlands.

Bid 'significantly harmed'

BBC Sports Editor David Bond says Mr Cameron's decision to attend the announcement is not without risk.

England hope Mr Cameron will emulate the key role played by Tony Blair during the final days of London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics.

But a senior member of Fifa's executive committee - which will make the decision - told the BBC last week that England's bid had been "significantly harmed" by a Sunday Times probe into two of their members.

Reporters from the newspaper posed as lobbyists for a consortium of private American companies who wanted to secure the World Cup for the US.

The paper accused Amos Adamu, from Nigeria, of asking to be paid £500,000 to build four artificial football pitches in his home country in exchange for votes.

And Reynald Temarii, from Tahiti, a Fifa vice-president who represents the Oceania confederation, was alleged to have requested £1.5m for a sports academy to be built in the region.

Fifa's ethics committee is due to meet from 15 to 17 November to discuss whether to take further action against the pair - both deny any wrongdoing and will fight the allegations when they appear before the committee.

There have also been allegations that Spain-Portugal had been colluding with Qatar, who are bidding for the 2022 World Cup.

Our correspondent says England 2018 international president David Dein held a meeting with Fifa president Sepp Blatter and general secretary Jerome Valcke in Zurich this week in an attempt to boost the flagging World Cup campaign.

Our correspondent says in an unexpected turn of events on Thursday night it emerged that Fifa had called an emergency executive committee meeting next Friday to discuss the findings of the ethics inquiry into corruption in the bidding process and the possible Spain-Portugal and Qatar alliance.

This could be a key turning point in the contest and good news for England's bid if their main rivals are found guilty of breaking rules, he says.

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