Inside Lines: Hope for 2012, but why is FA bid still a no-Coe area?

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The Independent Online

Hope Powell, the coach of the England women's football team, is a new and worthy addition to the list of "ambassadors" for the FA's 2018 World Cup bid, now becoming as voluminous as a gathering at a Ferrer Rocher soirée. The line of emissaries and glad-handers stretches from Prince William to David Beckham via Baroness Amos (apparently a closet Spurs supporter) and Richard Caborn. As Barack Obama once attended a West Ham match in 2003, doubtless he will be getting a call from the FA chairman, Lord Triesman. Yet curiously the one man in Britain with unrivalled knowhow of bid-winning remains uninvited. Some may argue that Seb Coe has enough on his plate organising the London Olympics, but he is a genuine and passionate football fan, with top-level contacts at Fifa. No one in British sport ticks more boxes with canny canvassing skills, so why is he stuck on the bench?

Obama takes on the Brits

Uplifting as it was, the triumph of Barack Obama was hardly received with ecstasy in the cities of Madrid, Rio and Tokyo. Their hopes of hosting the 2016 Olympics have surely nosedived now that Obama will be sprinkling his stardust over Chicago's Games bid when the vote is taken in Copenhagen a year from now. It means an uphill battle for the British PR teams masterminding the campaigns of the other three candidate cities.

Phil, dart with the heart

Darts players are easy targets for arrows of cynicism, but above those pot bellies there often beats a heart of gold. So it is with Phil "The Power" Taylor, 13 times world champion and as formidable a marksman as you will encounter at the oche. Last weekend, while competing in the European Championships in Frankfurt he was told about two wheelchair-bound brothers, paralysed from the neck down, who are not only huge darts fans but play the game by blowing darts through a tube. Taylor took time out to visit Gregor and Florian Keller and play several games with them. He then invited them to the tournament final as his guests and, after winning the title, handed them the trophy to keep. Double-top man.

BOA's new driving force

The cash-strapped British Olympic Association are set to install a new man in the driving seat. Hugh Chambers, 51, the commercial chief of Prodrive and a marketing expert who runs the World Rally programme for Subaru, will take over next month as the organisation's new chief executive, with the long-serving incumbent, Simon Clegg, concentrating on his role as Games chef de mission.

Hamilton passes BBC test

According to the bookies, Lewis Hamilton has driven his McLaren through the anticipated coronation of either Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington or cyclist Chris Hoy as the new favourite for this year's BBC Sports Personality award. The BBC clearly were hoping for an Olympic winner after their exclusive Beijing-fest, but there is a bittersweet aspect to Hamilton's predicted last-lap overtaking. All of his races were seen exclusively on ITV, but from now on he's the Beeb's baby. Mind you, they are having to fork out£2.3 million a race for the privilege. But for licence-payers it is some comfort that pro rata this seems rather better value than Jonathan Ross.