Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards has thrown England's 2018 World Cup campaign into disarray by resigning from the bid board.
Richards sent a letter to Lord Triesman, chairman of the bid and the Football Association, saying that he would continue to support the campaign but no longer wanted to be on the board. The resignation comes as a devastating blow to bid leaders, and especially to Triesman, who had hoped to draw a line under recent turmoil by streamlining the board at an emergency meeting 10 days ago.
Richards said in a statement released to Press Association Sport: "With the recent changes to the England 2018 Bid team structure, I feel I can now best support a successful bid without the necessity of sitting on the Board."
He added: "My positions as Premier League chairman, FA board member and chairman of the FA's international committee provide me with ample opportunities to bang the drum for English football, and the bid particularly, right across the world, which I will continue to do wherever and whenever I can.
"My belief is that England has all the right attributes to host a successful FIFA World Cup - our challenge now is to convince the 24 members of FIFA's ExCo [executive committee] of that. This must be our focus and priority going forward."
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.