England's bid hopes lifted by Uefa vote

England's chances of staging the 2006 World Cup have received a significant boost after it emerged that eight of the 24 voters who will decide the location could cast their votes as a block in England's favour.

Although a majority of the eight - the European members of the 24-man executive committee of Fifa, world football's governing body - are understood to have Germany as their first choice, the Football Association has been assured that the whole group will vote for England if Germany are eliminated in the early rounds of voting.

Such a scenario is quite feasible and picking up their votes could make all the difference to England's odds of hosting the tournament. Voting takes place in July, in up to four stages, with one of the five competing countries being eliminated each round until there is a majority winner with at least 13 votes.

South Africa have been, until now, thought to be the favourites to stage the event, with England and Germany just behind and the other contenders, Brazil and Morocco, realistically out of contention. The news that South Africa will get no second votes at all from Europe could be enough to swing the balance in England's favour. English bid sources feel they have five non-European votes almost secured.

The news that the European members of the Fifa committee could support England comes after a meeting in Switzerland on Wednesday between a heavyweight delegation from the FA and the presidential board of Uefa, European football's governing body. The English delegation included Adam Crozier, the FA's chief executive, Tony Banks, the Prime Minister's special envoy for the 2006 bid, Alec McGivan, the 2006 bid director, Geoff Thompson, the FA chairman, and Sir Bobby Charlton, the bid's main ambassador. The Uefa delegates were led by the Uefa president, Lennart Johansson.

The FA delegation had travelled to the meeting to seek assurances that Uefa would not be asking its eight Fifa members to vote as a block for Germany in the early rounds. Uefa assured the FA that the eight members would have a free vote.

The agreement to vote as a block for the longest-surviving European bidding nation followed. If England are eliminated early in the voting, all the Uefa votes will go to Germany.

Fifa, meanwhile, has warned that the Aston Villa striker Julian Joachim will be in "serious breach of regulations" if he plays for the Caribbean island of St Vincent in a World Cup qualifier tomorrow.

Joachim flew out early yesterday to prepare for his international debut against St Kitts even though he played nine times for the England Under-21 side in the early 1990s. That makes him ineligible for tomorrow's match.

Villa's manager, John Gregory, became aware of the situation yesterday after a call from the FA. He was unable to contact Joachim and was too late to stop him travelling - which means he will be out of Villa's match at Tottenham.

A Fifa spokesman, Keith Cooper, said: "The rules are clear-cut. As soon as a player plays one second of one minute for one country in an official competition, then they are committed to that country. It is that clear-cut.

"I saw Julian Joachim play for England in the World Youth Championships in Australia in 1993 and, if he does play on Sunday, then he will be in serious breach of the regulations.

"If that happens, the punishments can be against the player himself or the football federation concerned, in this case St Vincent."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links