Dein joins World Cup bid committee

LONDON - England's bid to stage the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 was given a significant boost on Thursday when David Dein, one of the most influential advisors in football, joined its committee as international president.

Dein is a former vice-chairman of Arsenal and the English FA and ex-chairman of the G14 group of major European clubs.

He commands widespread respect among senior officials of world soccer's governing body FIFA who will decide the hosts for both tournaments in December.

Dein said in a statement issued by the FA: "Having had 25 years in English, European and world football this was a challenge I could not refuse. Now the hard work begins."

Bid chairman David Triesman added: "David has a huge amount of experience in world football and an excellent network of contacts. We are very pleased that he will be joining the team in such an important role for the crucial final ten months."

Dein becomes the second high profile personality to join the challenge to host the finals this month.

Last week Ruud Gullit, the former Dutch captain and European Footballer of the Year, was named as the president of the joint Netherlands/Belgium bid.

Those countries are bidding for the 2018 or 2022 World Cup along with Australia, Japan, Russia, Spain/Portugal and the United States. Indonesia, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for the finals in 2022 only.