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PM in last-ditch plea for World Cup

Prime Minister David Cameron is to travel to Zurich next month to engage in a last-minute lobbying drive to secure the 2018 football World Cup for England.

Football's international governing body Fifa will announce the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in the Swiss city on December 2, and Mr Cameron is hoping to speak to members of its executive committee as they prepare to cast their votes.

The Prime Minister indicated his decision to travel to Zurich in a meeting on Friday with Fifa vice-president Chung Mong-joon during his visit to South Korean capital Seoul for the G20 summit.

Mr Cameron has used the gathering to lobby fellow government leaders, including Korea's President Lee Myung-bak, on behalf of the England bid.

In recent weeks he has spoken about the bid to Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Nicolas Sarkozy and he is planning to step up his campaign of persuasion over the remaining 20 days, including at next week's Nato summit in Lisbon.

In a sign of the importance he places on the bid's success, Mr Cameron joked that he is "spending much more time on the World Cup than on the G20".

Prince William, who is president of the Football Association, is also expected to attend the Zurich event, according to a list of dignitaries.

But other bids are also wheeling out heavyweight backers, with former US President Bill Clinton heading for Zurich to support the American effort.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The Prime Minister wants to give the strongest possible support for what he thinks is an excellent bid."

Mr Cameron told Dr Chung that England is in a position where it has the necessary stadiums in place and is well-placed to host a very successful World Cup which would generate significant revenues - money that would be used to support legacy projects.


From Belfast Telegraph