Gill: England bid back on track

KUALA LUMPUR - England's 2018 World Cup bid has addressed the concerns of FIFA vice-president Jack Warner and offers a low risk option, Manchester United chief executive David Gill said on Tuesday.

CONCACAF head Warner criticised England organisers last month saying their bid lacked "stardust" and was falling off the pace.

But Gill, who holds an advisory role to England's bid committee, said a boardroom reshuffle had quelled those fears.

"There have been some well publicised issues with the structure and everyone on the board felt, to move it forward and to get to grips with the situation, we should streamline the board .. (which) makes eminent sense," Gill told Reuters.

"I think some of the issues he (Warner) made have been addressed by the streamlining of the board.

"A very big board is difficult to manage. The board now is much tighter and much more cohesive."

England are among eight countries bidding to host the 2018 World Cup with Spain and Russia the early frontrunners following Warner's criticism of England and concerns over funding.

"One of our mistakes is that we have allowed our issues to be aired in public," Gill said.

"There have been well publicised issues on funding and that has not helped ... and we have to see our way through that.

"English football now gets tremendous coverage positive and negative. With being at the top you expect some criticism you must deal with it, not get upset by it and continue on the straight line."


With Britain still in recession the Manchester United chief executive was keen to speak of the financial benefits hosting a World Cup would bring rather than focus on the cost of bidding.

"We have had economic studies done that show the benefit to the English economy would be billions.

"Every country that hosts a major sporting event, if done right, can be very, very productive for the economy.

"The cost of bidding, yes it is a lot of money but it is small when you consider what the ultimate prize is."

England's bid appears to have an obvious advantage over some of their competitors with the majority of the proposed venues already built.

"FIFA can have confidence that the grounds are there, they know that they have all of the stadia there.

"The other attractiveness is we have a number of good training grounds, football league clubs who can help with training facilities.

"The risk factor is reduced by holding it in England."

England hosted their only World Cup in 1966, going on to win the tournament. They last bid for the 2006 event, which was hosted by Germany.

The successful bids will be announced in December 2010.