England ramp up 2018 push

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Football News

England 2018 have dispatched envoys across the world this week in a last effort to secure votes ahead of next week's World Cup vote.

The biggest drive for support will come in Kuala Lumpur, where a four-strong team have headed to the Asian footballer of the year awards.

England 2018 chairman Geoff Thompson, chief executive Andy Anson and ambassador Paul Elliott are being joined by Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, to woo the four Asian members of the 22-man executive committee who will vote on the World Cup hosts.

Winning the support of South Korea's Chung Mong-Joon could hold the key to England's hopes but nothing is guaranteed - and he did not vote for them when they bid for the 2006 tournament.

Chung, a FIFA vice-president, has also confirmed that he views the banning of two fellow executive committee members last week following allegations in the Sunday Times as too harsh.

"I personally believe the disciplinary measures on the two executive committee members are excessive," he told reporters in Seoul.

England 2018 do fear there could be a backlash against them from FIFA members unhappy with the British media, but Japan's Junji Ogura is expected to support England. Mohamed Bin Hammam and Worawi Makudi are thought to be in Spain/Portugal's camp.

David Dein, the former Arsenal and FA vice-chairman who is England 2018's international president, has travelled to Rio de Janeiro where he will hope to have informal meetings with FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Brazil's FIFA member Ricardo Terra Teixeira.

The global goodwill campaign involving English football will also arrive in Trinidad this week where there will be an FA and Premier League-backed presentation to officials from 40 countries from the CONCACAF federation. One of the speeches will be on the role of British newspapers in football.

The trip is not part of England 2018's campaign and was planned some months ago, before the Sunday Times' expose of corruption among FIFA officials. FIFA will vote on the 2018 World Cup hosts on December 2 in Zurich. Russia and Holland/Belgium are also bidding.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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