England suffer from an image problem, claims Jordaan

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The Independent Football

If England's stumbling bid to host the 2018 World Cup is to succeed they have to translate the country's standing as the "biggest football brand" in the world into telling influence where it matters most, according to Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of South Africa 2010.

Despite the global appeal of English football, the bid is seen to be suffering from a lack of allies among Fifa's executive committee. Jordaan has been part of two South African bids for the finals, being beaten by Germany to host 2006 before succeeding second time around. Does he think England has an image problem when it comes to campaigning for tournaments? "Yes, I think there is a disconnect between England as a football brand, clearly the biggest kind in world football, and that they have not managed to translate that into influence and power in international football," said Jordaan on a visit to London.

"It is going to be a difficult competition just in Europe alone. You have Spain, Russia, Belgium/Netherlands, England... It's going to be tough. England will have to look outside Europe to secure the votes and the only continent with no candidates is Africa. So England will have to focus very hard on Africa."

South Africa's preparations for next year's tournament received a setback yesterday with the news that the Gautrain, a high-speed rail link from Johannesburg airport into the city, may not be ready in time. Transport is one of the issues highlighted by Fifa as a potential problem for the finals.