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Home » Sport » Football

Beckham looking for late support

David Beckham is working night and day for England in its quest to host the 2018 World Cup, and believes support is swinging in his country's direction.

"It's hard to tell whether you've definitely got a vote," Beckham said on Wednesday. "You get a good feeling from some of the members that we've met over the last couple of days."

Beckham and Prince William have met with several of the 22 men who will vote on the hosting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on Thursday, including Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar and Chuck Blazer of the United States.

"We're working hard into the night and early mornings and fingers crossed," Beckham said.

Beckham and Prince William are due to speak at the presentation to the executive committee on Thursday before England goes up against Russia, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands in the vote.

Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, started a second day of campaigning by having breakfast Wednesday with FIFA executive committee member Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay.

Leoz could only back England if Spain-Portugal is eliminated in the early rounds because the three South American football federation members are committed to backing that joint bid. The country with the fewest votes will be eliminated after each round until a there is a majority.

But gaining Leoz's support could be tough since he was one of the FIFA executive committee members accused by the BBC of taking cash from FIFA's former marketing partner in the 1990s.

The English also hope there won't be a backlash against the bid from African soccer confederation President Issa Hayatou, who faced the same corruption accusations in the BBC documentary.

British Prime Minister David Cameron tried to secure Hayatou's support before flying back to London early Wednesday to carry out his parliamentary duties.

"He will be leaving a small team of officials on the ground in Zurich during the day to ensure that Downing Street remains fully plugged into the efforts of Prince William, David Beckham," Cameron's office said in a statement.

England also must hope that its chances of securing the votes from FIFA Vice President Jack Warner and his two CONCACAF colleagues haven't been damaged by the BBC probe. Warner was accused of being involved in a ticket scam for the 2010 World Cup. The BBC said the deal fell through when resellers would not pay Warner's asking price.

"He loves the Premiership, he loves our country, he loves everything about our game," said Beckham, who is a vice president of England's bid team. "Every vote is important, but I have spent time with Jack in Trinidad and Tobago and that was good, but it's important now that we get votes from everybody."

 

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