Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Beckham in thumbs up for World Cup

David Beckham during a visit to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London
David Beckham during a visit to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, east London
Beckham and London 2012 Organising Committee chairman Lord Coe during a visit to the Olympic Stadium

David Beckham has given a thumbs-up to England's chances of staging the 2018 World Cup.

He said he is "confident", but not taking it for granted, that England could win this week's crunch vote in Zurich as he visited the London 2012 Olympic Stadium for the first time.

He said standing in the stadium was a "very proud" moment, not just because he is an east London-born lad but also because he could tell it would be a "beautiful stadium" to play football in after 2012.

"I think that maybe my sons have got a better chance than me (of playing in the Olympic Stadium) considering my age but as a stadium it is somewhere I would love to play in because you can see the atmosphere here already is great and there is no-one in it, " he said.

"This is the first time I have been in the stadium area and been able to see the development of the stadium. When you drive up to it - it has obviously got that awe about it. It is a very proud moment, not just for myself but also for east end people, to be able to see the make-over of the area."

Beckham played a key ambassadorial role in securing the Olympics for London in Singapore in 2005 and was involved in the Beijing 2008 closing ceremony as the Chinese capital passed the Olympic flame on to London.

After his brief stopover in Stratford, east London, Beckham is now off to try and see if he can help edge the 2018 World Cup bid to victory.

He said: "Hopefully I will make a difference. There are many people, like Prince William, who have been involved and working hard for the bid and to get it to this final point.

"We are going to Fifa and a lot of delegates because we need to tell those people about why we feel it is the right thing for us to get the World Cup.

"I feel that at the end of the day it is down to what the bid team have done. England have a history and tradition (in football) and it is about the benefits that can be generated by having the World Cup in England."

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