England will host “an absolutely first-class World Cup” if the bid to host the 2018 tournament is successful, Prime Minister David Cameron has said.
Time is running out for the delegation supporting England’s bid to lobby members of Fifa’s executive committee ahead of Thursday’s vote in Zurich.
During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on Wednesday, Mr Cameron said: “This morning I returned from Zurich where I have been meeting with decision-makers, aiming to convince them of what a brilliant World Cup England could host in 2018.
“I do think that England 2018 has got a very, very strong bid if you look at the technical aspects. We have got the stadia, we have got the facilities, we have the transport networks, we have the enthusiasm in our country for football and we can put on an absolutely first-class World Cup.”
Mr Cameron will return to Zurich to continue his lobbying effort.
Meanwhile, Prince William had breakfast with Fifa’s Paraguayan member Nicolas Leoz as England looked to keep the momentum going for their bid.
The meeting shows England 2018’s determination to overcome any backlash from the Panorama row – Mr Leoz was one of the three Fifa members accused by the BBC programme of taking bribes in the 1990s.
William will speak during England 2018’s presentation on Thursday, as will Mr Cameron and David Beckham. The former England captain said Fifa members could be trusted to choose the best country to host the tournament.
Meanwhile, England’s bid received a boost after Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin confirmed he would not be travelling to Zurich for the vote. Russia is one of England’s main rivals and Mr Putin appeared to criticise the Fifa process by saying his country had faced “unscrupulous competition”.
His remarks are likely to dent Russia’s hopes, leaving Spain/Portugal as England’s main rivals.