Lineker rules out fronting WC bid

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Gary Lineker has distanced himself from the prospect of playing a prominent role in England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Former bid envoy Richard Caborn backed BBC's Match of the Day presenter as an ideal front man for the bid, claiming he could do for football what Lord Coe had done for the British Olympic movement in bringing the Games to London in 2012, but former England striker Lineker insists he cannot be compared to Coe and while he is happy to be a bid ambassador.

He wrote in his Mail On Sunday column: "It hasn't escaped my notice that I have been put forward in several quarters as a potential figurehead for England's 2018 World Cup bid. As flattering as that may be, I don't want anyone to be misled. Even if asked - and I haven't been - I would not be able to play a prominent role in the bid because of my full-time commitments for the BBC."

He added: "Having little interest or experience in being a political animal, I think I'd be better off assisting where I can, rather than being the front man for such a huge campaign.

"While I am happy to play a supporting role, I am not the Lord Coe some people are looking for."

The bid has so far been dogged by internal differences of opinion, with Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards stepping down from the bid team earlier this week.

Lineker hopes political in-fighting does not scupper a bid that he sees as a very strong and positive one.

He said: "There are concerns with how the bid has gone so far - the apparent in-fighting that has seen people moved up, down and sideways on various committees is clearly not helpful.

"I am not privy to what has gone on but it would be a crying shame if all the advantages that our bid enjoys are overshadowed by power struggles and egos getting in the way.

"Everyone should remember this is about winning the right to host the 2018 World Cup, not who gets a knighthood."

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Gary Lineker
Premier League

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