Becks has new World Cup role

England’s World Cup bid team hopes
David Beckham’s star quality will dazzle FIFA when they hand over their
official documents on Friday, and Princes William and Harry will lobby for
support at this year’s tournament in South Africa.

While an Achilles’ tendon injury
has ended Beckham’s hopes of playing at a fourth World Cup next month, the Los
Angeles Galaxy midfielder will be leading the bid delegation to FIFA
headquarters in Zurich.

“The great thing about David
is that if he suddenly appeared in any village on the planet, everyone would
know who he was,” Football Association chairman David Triesman said.
“People love seeing him and he will play a leading role in the
presentation of the book.”

Each country vying to host the 2018
or 2022 World Cups will hand over bid books containing technical details on
Friday, with England’s taking up 1,752 pages.

Technical inspections of all the
countries are due between July and September, and the vote by FIFA’s 24-man
executive committee is on 2 December.

The bid team also hopes a royal
reception in South Africa in June with Princes William and Harry will help win
over voters.

The royal brothers, who have never
officially toured overseas together, will be in Cape Town for the first-round
match against Algeria on 18 June, six days after England’s opener against the
United States.

England’s bid hasn’t been helped by
criticism of the Wembley Stadium field, with another new playing surface laid
last month — the eleventh since the rebuilt home of English soccer opened in

With several FIFA executive
committee members expected for the FA Cup final on Saturday between Chelsea and
Portsmouth, the bid team will hope problems with the slippery, uneven field
have been eradicated.