England’s bid to stage the 2018 World Cup will receive a fair hearing, former captain David Beckham said on Wednesday.
Beckham, who is in Zurich to boost England’s chances of hosting the competition for the first time since 1966, said he had trust in the 22 FIFA executives who will vote in the ballot on Thursday.
A 'BBC' report earlier in the week claimed three of the 22 voters had accepted bribes in the past, but Beckham said he believed they would not be swayed by the allegations.
“I think that we can trust every one of the members,” he said.
“They are football people and they are going to want a World Cup in the best country that they think could host the biggest sporting event in the world.”
The last 24 hours can be the most important without a doubt,” he said. “I know how important it is to keep going right up to the decision.” Prince William and British Prime Minister David Cameron have also been in Zurich to boost England’s hopes
Putin not attending vote
Their hopes received a further boost when Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin decided not to travel to Zurich in support of his country’s bid.
Russia is the bookmakers’ favourite to edge out England and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Holland and Belgium, but Mr. Putin said he did not see the point in attending.
“I would love to represent our entry in person,” Mr. Putin said.
“However, under these circumstances, I think it would be best not to go out of respect for the members of the FIFA executive committee, so that they can make their decision in peace and without any outside pressure.” Mr. Putin went on to say that Russia had faced “unscrupulous competition” in its bid to host the competition for the first time.
Keywords: Vladimur Putin FIFA WC vote