David Beckham is set to stay in South Africa to assist England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup despite the death of his grandfather. It is understood that the former England captain, who is with the bid team on the 2018 campaign trail in Cape Town, wants to stay on after learning yesterday that his grandfather, Joseph West, had died aged 83 after a serious illness.
It is not yet known, however, whether the Los Angeles Galaxy and Milan player will remain in South Africa until tomorrow's draw for the finals. His plans may change if the funeral is arranged for later this week.
Beckham yesterday assumed a new role as England 2018's bid trouble-shooter after holding meetings with two of football's most powerful figures. He had talks with the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, and vice-president, Jack Warner, alongside Lord Triesman, the bid and FA chairman. Triesman described Beckham as "hugely impressive" and the England midfielder is fast emerging as a major force in the campaign's attempts to shake off the turmoil of the past month.
"We have had some excellent meetings today," Treisman said. "David was hugely impressive in those meetings. It is clear that legacy is central to the hopes of Fifa and any successful bid. This area is one of David's great passions and will be integral to our bid.
"He is an inspiration to children around the world, which will be demonstrated tomorrow when he visits one of the FA's international development programmes near Cape Town."