England set to ditch 2022 World Cup bid

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The Independent Football

England will almost certainly pull out of the bidding for the 2022 World Cup to concentrate on the 2018 tournament, bid chiefs today revealed.

David Dein, the former Arsenal and Football Association vice-chairman who is now international president of England's bid, said the move would happen if - as expected - the United States withdraws from the 2018 race to leave it a purely European contest.

Russia, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium are also bidding for 2018 but if one of those are successful then 2022 will go to a non-European nation.

Dein said: "We are sure it won't be long before America will withdraw from 2018, leaving themselves a run on 2022.

"Consequently we will almost certainly - it hasn't come about yet - withdraw from 2022, leaving us with a European battle."

UEFA president Michel Platini has campaigned strongly for 2018 to come to Europe, and Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea have all limited themselves to bidding for 2022.

Dein added: "We believe, Michel Platini believes, that 2018 should be coming to Europe and we believe that is our strongest case."

Dein was in Trinidad at the weekend with bid ambassador David Beckham to see CONCACAF president Jack Warner and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

He said: "We have been in six countries in the last 13 days and we desperately want to win the right to stage the World Cup."

FIFA's 24-man executive committee will vote on the 2018 and 2022 hosts on December 2 in Zurich.