Prince William to back England 2018 bid

Officials at the Football Association have confirmed Prince William will play a key role during the final stages of England’s bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

A vote on who will be offered the opportunity to host the tournament will be taken by FIFA’s executive committee in Geneva on December 2nd, with the prince joining prime minister David Cameron and football legend David Beckham as ambassadors for the England bid.

Pictured: Princes William and Harry meet Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, and former England captain David Beckham

With the prince confirming earlier this week he will marry sweetheart Kate Middleton in 2011, FA officials are hoping some of the feel-good-factor may brush off on proceedings.

The prince will be attending in his role as president of the Football Association. However, his bride-to-be will not be in attendance.

England 2018 was buoyed earlier the week when FIFA granted the bid “low-risk” status, alongside rivals Russia and Spain/Portugal.

A bid from Belgium/Netherlands was ruled “medium-risk”, effectively signalling the death knell for a campaign already seen as an outsider.

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Star Power

England 2018 bid chief Andy Anson is banking on star power to swing the vote.

He said: “The three of them are a very potent combination and have a key role to play.

“The Prime Minister has already done an amazing job in private discussions and struck up a strong relationship with FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

“David Beckham is known and loved by the FIFA members and Prince William got on brilliantly with them in South Africa during his World Cup visit.”

BBC

Meanwhile, Anson has been generating controversy of his own, attacking the BBC as unpatriotic over its decision to screen a Panorama investigation into allegations of corruption at FIFA just days ahead of the vote.

“I’m incredibly disappointed with the timing of what the BBC seem to be proposing with Panorama,” he said.

“To do it the week before the vote - I don’t think it’s patriotic.”

The move is seen as the latest attempt by the leadership of England 2018 to distance itself from the British media following an open letter sent to FIFA earlier this week.