Emergency meeting for England World Cup bid

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The Independent Online

England's 2018 World Cup bid leaders will hold an emergency meeting later today to get the campaign back on track as the Government appealed for an end to the turmoil that has engulfed the campaign.

The Prime Minister's 2018 bid ambassador Richard Caborn has called for unity among bid leaders and says the Government is prepared to take a reduced role if it will help the campaign.

Today's board meeting is expected to discuss ways to restructure the campaign to focus more attention on winning the votes of the 24 FIFA executive members who will vote on the tournament hosts.

There is no likelihood however of Lord Triesman, the chairman of the Football Association, standing down from his £100,000-a-year role as bid chairman.

The meeting will also attempt to end the internal feuding that has threatened to destabilise the bid, with some directors unhappy at the handling of the damaging remarks by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, while others believe the Government have reneged on promises to provide £5million towards the £15million cost of the bid.

Caborn insisted the Government was completely behind the bid.

He told Press Association Sport: "Our message is that this domestic squabbling and wrangling must stop, and we must get on with winning the votes.

"From day one we have been very, very supportive and some £5million of public money will go towards the bid - £2.5million as a loan from Government and £250,000 from each of the 10 local authorities who are successful as candidate cities.

"We genuinely want to be successful and are now in process of putting in place nearly £0.5billion of guarantees - £350million from Government and £100million from local authorities.

"We do believe that the bid requires some re-organisation and a new direction.

"We should be focusing on the real issue of winning the votes rather than the domestic issues that have dominated this campaign and if the 2018 board believes we need to reduce government involvement then we will do that.

"The Prime Minister wants to make sure we will do everything we can to win the bid."

Warner's remarks criticising the bid set off a train of events leading to today's meeting, but Triesman's position as bid chairman is virtually unassailable.

Bid sources say FIFA expects the FA to lead any World Cup bid and that for him to step down would fatally harm the campaign.

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