POSTED: February 18th 2009

Busy Coe targets World Cup, too

Lord Coe: proven magic touch /
Lord Coe: proven magic touch /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: Lord Coe wants to achieve a hat-trick for English sport after taking up one of two top-level football appointments confirmed here in London today.

The former Olympic gold medallist has become a non-executive board member of England's 2018 World Cup bid team while the Football Association has confirmed former government adviser Ian Watmore as chief executive.

Coe led the team which secured the 2012 Olympics Games and Paralympics for London and is chairman of the local organising committee.

He will continue to hold this position as well as his vice-presidency of the international athletics federation (IAAF). However he has been granted leave of absence from his role as chairman of the ethics committee of the world football federation FIFA. Coe is two years into an eight-year contract with FIFA and will return to the post after the vote in December 2010 on host bid for the World Cups in 2018 and 2022.

Coe, whose World Cup role in unsalaried, said: “I look forward to playing my part in our bid. I am passionate about football so am delighted to be standing alongside many other people and football greats up and down the country in bidding for this event.

“Winning the football World Cup would be the hat-trick in a golden era for sport in the UK following the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.”

Confident Triesman

Lord David Triesman, chairman of both the FA and England 2018 Ltd, believes Coe’s experience in bidding processes can be a significant factor.

Triesman said: “Lord Coe is a highly-regarded international sports ambassador who is not only passionate about football but also commands great respect in the global football community. His experiences in leading the successful London 2012 bid and generating a wealth of domestic and international support will be invaluable.

"He is also held in high esteem by the FIFA family and this, coupled with his London 2012 success, means he is a tremendous addition to the board and to the 2018 team in general."

Sir Keith Mills, another member of the London 2012 bid, is another non-executive director of the World Cup team.

England are considered favourites to win host rights in 2018 when the finals are expected to be awarded to one of the European bidders. Also in contention are Holland/Belgium, Spain/Portugal and Russia. Other World Cup bids registered with FIFA, perhaps more with 2022 in mind, are Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and the United States.

Meanwhile administration of England’s domestic game will fall under the control of 50-year-old Watmore who succeeds former TV executive Brian Barwick as chief executive of the FA.

Watmore is a lifelong Arsenal fan who spent 24 years in the information technology industry before becoming Permanent Secretary for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining the FA. It’s a great challenge. With Lord Triesman and the FA board, [England manager] Fabio Capello and the FA's staff, I want to ensure we are achieving success on and off the pitch across all levels of the game."

Keywords · English football · London 2012 · Olympic Games · 2018 World Cup · Coe · Watmore · Triesman · FA · Football Association

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