World Cup bid supremo issues 'favourites' warning

England's new World Cup bid chief has warned that their status as early favourites to host the 2018 tournament is one of the biggest dangers threatening their chances.

Andy Anson, the former commercial director of Manchester United, will take over as bid chief executive in January.

England have been regarded as early front-runners but Anson fears that could lead to complacency.

Anson told a media briefing in London: "Being favourites is great but actually doesn't mean anything. "For me that's one of the biggest dangers and that's one of the key risks I want to be sure we are aware of.

"There is a danger in being the favourite that it can lead to complacency and I don't think we can afford to be at all complacent.

"Watching the [London 2012] Olympic bid unveil as it did, coming from a position of underdog was actually a nice place to come from."

The campaign is being run by the Football Association and there has already been some dissatisfaction expressed that the Premier League have not been given enough of a role on the bid board.

United chief executive David Gill is one of the board members, but there has been no place for Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards nor chief executive Richard Scudamore.

Anson accepted that there was a need for unity.

He added: "The next element is to bring together all the key stakeholders. A number of parties have to be on board absolutely to make this happen - the FA, the Government, the supporters, the Premier League and the community at large.

"We have to start from a solid base where everyone is working together."

He also stressed that there should be no claims that it was time for football to "return home".

"The one thing we can't afford to do is say it's our turn for the World Cup," said Anson.

"The first thing we need to do is manage expectation level. Obviously there is a huge buzz of excitement around the bid and the prospect of England hosting the World Cup.

"But I think what we need now is to have a short period of time when we figure out what we want our bid to be about and figure out our strategy before we start moving forwards aggressively with the bid.

"We need to exceed any expectations about what our bid can be about and make it as exciting, creative and original as possible so that there is a wow factor associated with it."

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