Ex-Arsenal chief Dein to head up England World Cup bid
Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein has been appointed international president of the England 2018/22 World Cup bid board.
He will take up the post immediately and play a key role along with the board chairman Lord Triesman, ahead of the announcement in December of which nations will stage the two World Cups.
Triesman said: "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 10 months.
"We are happy with the way the bid is progressing but it is important to keep the momentum building in any campaign, and to peak at the optimum moment, and we are sure David can achieve that with us.''
Dein has also previously been a vice-chairman of the Football Association and chairman of the now-disbanded G14 group of leading clubs. He sold his shareholding in Arsenal to Alisher Usmanov's Red and White Holdings in 2007.
Dein said today: "I am delighted to be part of the 2018/22 bid and look forward to an exciting campaign. Having had 25 years in English, European and world football this was a challenge I could not refuse. Now the hard work begins.''
The finalised 'bid book' must be submitted by May 14, and an inspection visit by FIFA would take place in August or September. The successful host countries will be revealed by FIFA on December 2, with England hoping to stage the World Cup for the first time since 1966.
England 2018/22 chief executive Andy Anson said: "We are now entering a critical phase of the bid both domestically and internationally.
"Our technical bid needs to meet, and exceed, FIFA's requirements which will then be followed by the inspection visit. During this time we need to continue to concentrate on our message to the FIFA executive committee of why England is the right country to be awarded the honour of hosting the World Cup.
"David is able to give this international role his full focus and will play a key role in that advocacy within the campaign team.''
The board was restructured in November in an attempt to end the turmoil that has blighted the campaign. A streamlined executive board was appointed, with FIFA vice-president Geoff Thompson chosen after previously being omitted.
Original board members including Manchester United chief executive David Gill, Sir Keith Mills -who helped spearhead the successfult London 2012 Olympics bid - and sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe joined an advisory group headed by West Ham vice-chariman Karren Brady.
Thompson, who is a vice-president of UEFA and FIFA, remains an integral member of the bid team, with Dein's introduction serving to add another senior figure to the campaign.