ZURICH - England have said that the race
to host the 2018 World Cup is still wide open and will be
decided by three days of hectic wheeling and dealing before
But bid chief executive Andy Anson was also bracing for the
airing of a British TV documentary on Monday night about alleged
corruption in FIFA, saying England's chances would inevitably be
affected by the fall-out.
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FIFA's executive committee - currently reduced to 22
members after two were suspended earlier this month - will
decide on Thursday the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Anson said he knew how many votes England had guaranteed for
2018 although he would not reveal the number.
"We're optimistic," he said. "We know we have a lot of work
to do this week."
"I know who's committed to supporting us and I know the
votes we can get," he added.
"We have to work very hard over the next three days to make
sure it comes to fruition. We may be underdogs but we can win
England are up against Russia, Spain/Portugal and outsiders
Belgium/Netherlands. "We've got three strong contenders and any
of them can still win on Thursday. They're all good bids," said
He then returned to the subject of the BBC Panorama
programme, due to be aired on three days before the vote.
"Of course I'm disappointed with the timing and it's
certainly not going to win any votes," Anson told reporters.
"We just have to see what happens tonight and move on. I
won't be watching it, I've got other things to do."
He added: "It's a reality, it's a small group of 22 people,
in a way it's a brotherhood of executive committee members. If
you hurt one of them, of course it has an impact on the others.
That's just inevitable.
"I think we have to be aware of the implications and act
accordingly. We'd be naive if we didn't think these things had
Two executive committee members - Reynald Temarii and Amos
Adamu - will miss the vote after being suspended following an
investigation by the Sunday Times saying they offered to sell
their votes for cash.
FIFA are still to decide on a request from the Oceania
Football Confederation to replace Tahiti's Temarii for
The fall-out from the Sunday Times reporters and Monday's
BBC documentary is regarded as the most serious threat to
Anson felt the decision to choose the 2018 and 2022 hosts
together had given the contests a much more political edge,
especially as eight members of the FIFA executive committee were
from bidding nations.
He said: "Obviously, the strength of the bid is important
but when you've got 22 people with two campaigns, who've got
their own issues or agendas, or their own elections to worry
about, of course politics are involved.
"For us, it's about understanding that and I think we've
done a very good job in terms as a team in making sure we're
aware of everything which is going on."
Latest William Hill betting on 2018 World Cup hosts winner:
Russia 8-11, Spain/Portugal 9-4, England 11-4,
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