England told to improve their image for 2018

November 27, 2007

England need to improve their image around the world if they are to have any hope of winning the right to stage the 2018 World Cup.

That is the view of the man who led South Africa's successful bid for 2010.

Danny Jordaan, chief executive of South Africa's bid and now of the 2010 organising committee, believes the Football Association need to boost their presence at international footballing events.

And England's World Cup bid ambassador Richard Caborn feels the lessons of the failed campaign for the 2006 tournament had already been learned.

Jordaan said: 'You must strengthen your international engagement.

'People all around the world watch English football but there is no actual connection with it.

'I have visited every confederation's tournaments and meetings and England's officials are not there.

'If England are to be a global player and get the World Cup you must engage the world.

'England clearly has a very, very strong chance but there is a difference between being the favourite and winning. If England can deliver an international approach to all the key groups it should have a more than equal chance.'

Jordaan and Caborn were sharing a panel at the Soccerex conference in Johannesburg and the South African added: 'Everyone will say to you they are supporting you but you need the votes. You need to turn that support into votes with the 24 members of the FIFA executive committee.

'You have to keep close to them. When we were bidding for 2010 if England went to Argentina then less than seven days later I would be there so they could not consolidate their position.

'I flew one and a half million miles a year.'

Caborn said England knew they could not afford to appear arrogant.

He said: 'Danny's right, it's about getting off your backside and meeting people.

'In my office I have the bid document from the 2006 campaign and I look at it every morning and say we must not make the same mistakes again.

'We cannot be arrogant. The 2006 bid was a big wake-up call for our FA and since then they have delivered a fantastic international development policy.'

The FA's director of communications Adrian Bevington said earlier the organisation had learned from the 2006 bid and had made huge efforts with aid and support to developing football nations.

England have stiff competition for 2018. Spain and Portugal are preparing to launch a joint bid which could mean as many as 10 in total.

Russia, Australia, Holland and Belgium (jointly), China, Japan, USA, Canada and Mexico have either said they will be bidding for 2018 or are considering doing so.

The Spain/Portugal bid would be counting on support from the three South American members of FIFA's executive committee who will decide on the hosts in 2011.