Having secured football royalty by paying a king's ransom for Fabio Capello, the Football Association are now seeking to sign the real thing, targeting Prince William to front up the 2018 World Cup bid. We understand initial feelers have already been put out to Buckingham Palace to see if HRH would be willing to do what Seb Coe did for the successful Olympic bid. The FA know they need a big hitter to impress the star-struck Fifa electorate and William, who is president of the FA and supposedly an Aston Villa fan, seems ideal. Fifa's president, Sepp Blatter, has said that he wants an Olympic-style bidding process, and the FA have discussed with Lord Coe the best way of going about it. Coe, who chairs Fifa's ethics committee, is obviously otherwise engaged with 2012 or else he might have been offered the role himself, but he will be used as an adviser. If William cannot oblige,Gary Lineker and David Beckham are other names in the frame, with "special envoy" Richard Caborn, the former sports minister, riding shotgun. But the FA hope that Prince William will be striking up front.
Why a rematch for Hatton is pie in the Sky
We hope Ricky Hatton forsakes his Sunday pies and pints at his local and stays home to watch the BBC2 rerun of his classic working-over by Floyd Mayweather at lunchtime today. Surely he will then realise how foolhardy it is to dicker with the idea of a rematch that the US wouldn't buy anyway. Hatton, as we predicted, took his lumps manfully. Now he should bank his Sky-boosted 15m, quit after a valedictory fight at light-welter, and stop the bingeing before, as Frank Warren says, he ends up "with a strawberry nose looking like Bernard Manning's love-child".
Beijing beckons as Daley scoops the pool
The absence of Tom Daley, the 13-year-old diving prodigy featured in these pages last Sunday, from the BBC awards the same night was excusable. The Young Sports Personality of the Year was otherwise engaged in Montreal, where he collected yet another gong. With new synchro partner Blake Aldridge, 23, he struck gold in a top international event with a breathtaking performance which included a perfect 10 off the 10-metre board. Significantly, the duo they beat into second place for the first time were his own mentor, Leon Taylor, and Pete Waterfield, the British Olympic silver medallists in Athens. If they do so again in next month's British Championships in Manchester, it would secure a place in Beijing, making Daley Britain's youngest-ever Olympian.
Chinese offer food for thought for trim Tessa
Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell was in festive mood last week, dispensing mince pies and a mild wigging to the hacks who continue to cast doubts on her 2012 budget. "Most of the money is going on infrastructure, but that word doesn't fit into a headline," she sighed. "I think you have 'spiralling Olympic costs' programmed into your word processors." Trim Tessa she is in the gym four times a week tells us how she envies her opposite number in Beijing. "When I asked him how much their Games will cost, he said they don't have to tell anyone until they are over."
First Capello, now Collina: whistling to the Italian tune
Pierluigi Collina, the now retired Capello of the refereeing game, will also be giving us Italian lessons next season. As part of his new role as a football ambassador for MasterCard (very apt), he will hold a series of seminars throughout Europe for aspiring young refs, some in this country. A whistle-stop tour, no doubt.