x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Beckham given role in World Cup bid

The former England captain David Beckham has been appointed a vice president for England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

The England midfielder David Beckham has been appointed as a vice president for England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.
The England midfielder David Beckham has been appointed as a vice president for England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

LONDON // The former England captain David Beckham has been appointed a vice president for England's bid to stage the 2018 World Cup. The Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder will support a newly formed Football Association (FA) executive board which has the task of bringing football's biggest event back to the country that last staged it in 1966, when England captured the trophy - their only World Cup triumph.

"I'm proud to be part of the FA's 2018 World Cup bid and will do everything I can to help bring the tournament to England," Beckham told thefa.com website. "I was able to play my part in the successful London 2012 Olympic bid and, throughout my career, have witnessed the difference sport makes to peoples' lives, all over the world." The FA announced Beckham will be joined by another former England star, John Barnes, who begins work as coach of Jamaica's national team next month. More vice presidents will be announced soon.

England will face opposition in Europe from a joint bid by Belgium and the Netherlands and there is speculation that Australia and China might also be interested in hosting the event. While the United States is also considering a move, the Fifa President Sepp Blatter suggested two weeks ago that, because the Americas already have the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the US would stand a better chance in 2022.

The 2018 host will be selected at an executive committee meeting in 2011 and Blatter said Fifa is looking at the possibility of selecting the 2022 host at the same time. Meanwhile, the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport reported that Beckham will start training with Italian club AC Milan in January to keep up his fitness levels after the Major League Soccer (MLS) season ends. The paper says Beckham wants to remain fit so that he can be called up to play in England's World Cup qualifying matches.

The England coach Fabio Capello has said he will not pick players who are not playing in a league championship. "I'm in agreement with this and don't see any downside," the paper quoted the Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti as saying. "We will get to know a true champion." The MLS season ends in November after which Beckham's LA Galaxy side will travel to Australia and New Zealand in December to play friendlies.

Beckham may stay in Europe after training with Milan to play either in Italy or Spain even though he has three years left on his contract with the Galaxy, Gazzetta said without citing sources. "Ancelotti and I will be waiting for Beckham at Milanello," the club's vice president Adriano Galliani told Gazzetta referring to his team's training grounds. "You all want to know if we will buy him? We'll talk about that in the future."

*AP