Warner praises Beckham’s support for World Cup bid
MACOYA, TRINIDAD (AP) - CONCACAF President Jack Warner praised David Beckham’s role with the England bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, saying he adds a “lot of weight” to the chances of staging the event for the second time.
The former England captain brought his star quality and David Beckham Academy to Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, coaching about 200 youngsters at Marvin Lee Stadium to fulfill a long-standing commitment to Warner.
Beckham’s visit was also intended to secure crucial CONCACAF votes for England’s bid to host its first World Cup since 1966. Warner holds one of the 24 votes on the FIFA executive committee, which will decide the hosts of the two tournaments in December.
“It’s trying to prove that having a World Cup in our country will help not just us but children from different countries around the world,” Beckham said. “It’s all about the lasting legacy we can leave if we’re lucky enough to win the bid.
“(It’s been great) having the opportunity of talking with Jack about the bid and our thoughts going into the final stages of the bid. We have to think positive, we have to believe we’re in a good position. But there’s still a lot of hard work to be done and that will continue to be done.”
Warner was circumspect when asked if he would be supporting the bid, but says Beckham’s influence is helping England’s chances.
“I’ve said before, if any country can host a World Cup tomorrow, England can,” Warner said. “So it is one of the few countries that is prepared. But we have to meet together as a confederation to make a final decision and we will do that soon.
“He adds a lot of weight and I think that this is a plus for them (England).”
Andy Anson, chief executive of England’s bid, said Warner’s backing would be a major advantage.
“He’s very important _ he’s been around the world of FIFA a very long time,” Anson said. “He knows how the bidding process works better than anyone. He gives us fantastic advice and he’s very important for us to have a strong relationship with.
“It’s going well, it’s a tough race, it’s a tough challenge. But we’ve put together what we think is a very strong technical bid. We had a very good inspection visit a few weeks ago and now we’re on the road lobbying.”
Beckham has played two games as a substitute for the Los Angeles Galaxy since tearing his left Achilles’ tendon while on loan with AC Milan in March. He played 20 minutes on Sept. 11 in a 3-1 victory over Columbus, and played 37 minutes on Sept. 18 in a 2-1 win over D.C. United.
The 35-year-old Beckham’s international career appears to be over after England coach Fabio Capello intimated on Aug. 11 that the midfielder was too old. However, Beckham hasn’t given up hope of returning to the national team.
“In the future, I hope I play for my country again, but right now I have to concentrate on my ankle and playing for the Galaxy,” Beckham said.
Beckham has also dealt with off-field issues.