England to focus on ’18 WCup bid if US withdraws

England will withdraw from the race to host the 2022 World Cup

and concentrate on its 2018 bid if the United States ends its

interest in the earlier tournament.

David Dein, the international president of England’s bid, said

Tuesday he expects that announcement soon.

FIFA hasn’t officially declared that 2018 should go to Europe

and leave the rest of the field to contest 2022. England and

Russia, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands are still vying for

both events as a formality.

The United States is the sole non-European country still bidding

for both events. Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are

focused on 2022. The Americans have said they will withdraw from

2018 bidding only if asked by FIFA or UEFA president Michel

Platini.

”We believe, Michel Platini believes, that 2018 should be

coming to Europe and we believe that is our strongest case,” Dein

said during a briefing Tuesday. ”We are sure it won’t be long

before America will withdraw from 2018, leaving themselves a run on

2022.

”Consequently, we will almost certainly – it hasn’t come about

yet – withdraw from 2022, leaving us with a European battle.”

Dein, the former vice chairman of Arsenal, has been spearheading

England’s global courting of the 24 FIFA executive committee

voters. He was joined by England midfielder David Beckham in

Trinidad over the weekend to visit CONCACAF president Jack Warner

and FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

”We have been in six countries in the last 13 days, and we

desperately want to win the right to stage the World Cup,” Dein

said.

He will embark on another round of trips to visit the voters

again before the FIFA vote in December. England is vying to host

the World Cup for the first time since 1966.