Inside Lines: All systems Coe as countdown quickens to 2012 – and 2018

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The Independent Online

There are 999 days to the start of the London Olympics and 397 to the moment when we will know whether the 2018 football World Cup is to be played in England. Which means that Baron Coe of Ranmore is going to be an exceptionally busy man. The fact that, despite its detractors and the recession, London 2012 arguably is further ahead of schedule than any post-war Olympic city is a tribute to Coe and his team. Now, as the countdown quickens, he will have even more on his packed agenda, as it seems likely the World Cup bid could be looking to him to provide the same persuasive oratory to sway Fifa that he used to convince the International Olympic Committee. With FA chairman Lord Triesman recognising that personality will be a key factor to delivering on the day, and with the ideally-suited Gary Lineker ruling himself out as any sort of figurehead as he is "not a political animal", Coe, who is already well connected within Fifa, seems an obvious candidate to be pressed into service on 2 December next year. Of course, his first priority will always be 2012, but football fan Coe is famously efficient at utilising his time and would hardly turn down the opportunity to strike up front for England. A 2018 bid spokesman says it is too early to say who will be involved on the platform, "but it will be a selection designed to get across all the strengths of the 2018 bid. Lord Coe's role as a board member means he is and will continue to have a key role in the campaign". Suggest you get working on that speech, Seb.

Iron Mike in meltdown

The last time Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson met outside the ring, their pre-fight scuffle ended with Iron Mike gnawing Lewis's thigh and threatening to eat his babies. Fortunately, Lewis, here last week, will be back in Miami by the time Tyson gets into town on Tuesday, otherwise a confrontation might have been even less seemly than that anticipated when David Haye flies to Germany to continue his tasteless verbal assaults on Nikolay Valuev, whom he meets for the Russian ogre's WBA heavyweight title on Saturday. Lewis, as he tells us on page 23, says Haye will cut down the gloved Goliath, but if you really want to see how far the mighty can fall, the place to be that night is Maldon, Essex, where Tyson will be picking up a much-needed few bob for chatting to punters at a local leisure centre. A heck of a long way from Madison Square Garden.

... and Iron Chrissie in hunt

Our plea for someone – anyone – other than Jenson Button to be voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year has brought readers' support but also a chiding for not suggesting that the gong should go to the world of triathlon, either the redoubtable Chrissie Wellington, three-time winner of the Hawaii Ironman world title, or Alistair Brownlee, the new men's world champion at 21. Ironic, that, as Button himself is also pretty useful at the cycle-swim-run game in his spare time.

It's in the post – honestly

Apparently the world gymnastics champion, Beth Tweddle – who in our book presses all the right buttons to be Sports Personality – is still awaiting that promised congratulatory note from the Prime Minister. Oh Gord! Doesn't he know there's a postal strike?