Triesman plays down Warner criticism

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The Independent Football

Lord Triesman has attempted to limit the impact of Jack Warner's scathing assessment of England's World Cup bid and has promised to use key figures such as David Beckham at the right time.

FIFA vice-president Warner, speaking at the Leaders In Football summit at Stamford Bridge, attacked the 2018 bid with accusations of allowing rivals to advertise under their noses and failing to use the influence of figures such as Beckham.

He believes England have sent "lightweight" representatives to meet FIFA executives who hold key votes like himself. Warner has three votes and could influence a further two.

Triesman, chairman of the 2018 bid, said: "His initial advice was not to do what we did in 2006, going round getting in people's faces and making assumptions. He said we should go around and listen to people and get to know the 24 members of the FIFA executive committee.

"It was always going to be a campaign where we would move onto a higher profile. He's making a point that we need to get to that point."

Warner's argument appeared to be strengthened by arriving at Chelsea's stadium and seeing guests being given a free bag promoting Australia's bid for either 2018 or 2022.

"I came here and was shocked that I got a bag for Australia at the entrance," said Warner. "I wouldn't have allowed it. Why isn't there a bag for England? People are looking at these things and asking themselves questions.

"My colleagues are saying very quietly that the guys who are coming to them are lightweight. This is the type of thing that loses you a bid.

"You have to look at what others are doing and also be creative yourself - these things are not happening.

"In Rio last week (at a FIFA executive-committee meeting), the first name on people's lips was Spain, then Russia. I have friends in England and know about the trauma of 2006 - I am saying if they do not get their act together they will lose. You have no divine right to anything - you have to earn it."

Triesman and 2018 chief executive Andy Anson insisted they were happy with the pace of their bid, which they expected to gather momentum over the autumn.

Over the issue of free bags, Anson said: "We put in two keynote speakers. We want to outline our vision for the World Cup and if we thought there was mileage giving out free carrier bags we would."

Triesman was due to speak on the second day of the conference but Warner's rant led to the Football Association chairman speaking out and defending the bid process.

"I know what is meant by aggressive - more outward leaning," Triesman said. "Absolutely we will."

Anson added: "We will use those individuals like David Beckham and hopefully members of the royal family in our own time and in the right place. They are important to our bid and on board.

"We have our own plans, timetable and are working to our own deadlines. We won't be rushed by outside influences, we are going to do everything thoroughly in the way we want to do it."

Triesman also responded to Warner's comments over sending "lightweight" representatives.

"I don't think that is an accurate description," he said. "It was said to me that when South Africa bid there was Nelson Mandela around. There aren't too many Nelson Mandelas - people who have that international reputation who are thought of in a moral sense as well as political."

Triesman, in any case, is wary of relying on a single "stellar" figure to promote a bid, as seen last week when Chicago failed in their attempt to host the Olympics despite the help of Barack Obama.

"It may be wrong to rely on one stellar figure," Triesman said. "You may have to do a great deal more than that to earn the right to stage the tournament."

Richard Caborn, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's ambassador for the bid, admitted there is plenty of work to be done.

He told Sky Sports News: "He (Warner) is probably right. If we have the vote tomorrow we may not win it."

However Caborn insisted that by next year, England's bid would have "the total support of the nation, and is technically competent but is visionary as well".

He also warned against the overuse of Beckham in promoting the bid.

"You do not use that type of asset, you use it sparingly," said Caborn

"David Beckham has given absolute commitment to the bid, as indeed have many other persons, and we will use these in our game plan as we believe fit."

Caborn's view was backed up by Danny Jordaan, who led South Africa's 2010 campaign.

"First you have to make sure your case is understood, then in the later stages we brought out Nelson Mandela," he said.