FOOTBALL : Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has rejected calls for him to stand down from his role at leader of England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has rejected calls for him to stand down from his role at leader of England’s 2018 World Cup bid.
Triesman has slimmed down the 2018 board in an attempt to bring more focus to a bid that will reach its conclusion in December next year after a series of petty squabbles. He has brought FIFA and UEFA executive committee member Geoff Thompson, Manchester United chief executive David Gill and former Birmingham managing director Karren Brady on to a new advisory board, while ditching former Sports Minister Richard Caborn.
The moves have been seen by Triesman’s critics as an attempt to paper over the cracks, but he hit back by saying: “FIFA made it absolutely clear that whoever was chairman of the domestic FA had to stand behind the bid. That is their acid test.”
He added: “You have to do both. You have to organise your time, your resources and the people around you. Those are the rules of the game. I don’t get the option of walking away.”
One man not on the board for obvious reasons is David Beckham. However, the most famous English footballer of all is now viewed as integral to the bid, which is facing stiff competition from Spain, Russia and Australia in particular.
A row over whether to help fund a charter flight to get Beckham from a Los Angeles Galaxy exhibition match in Gelsenkirchen to Cape Town two days ahead of the World Cup draw on December 4 has been set aside. And Triesman confirmed his 2018 team are keen to make the maximum use of their biggest asset.
“The person most people have said they want to meet is David Beckham,” said Triesman. “He is working with us and will continue to do that on a number of specific things.
“We will use him as much as possible because he is such a fantastic ambassador. England runs right through the guy’s bone marrow. He loves the sport. He loves the idea England can win this and he believes we can win.
“We cannot forget he is still playing but he is willing to be as generous with his time as his commitments allow.
“He is very patriotic and we will get a big input from him.”