Busy Anson retains optimism
Bid chief executive Andy Anson believes England are underdogs to win the 2018 World Cup vote but insists they can still do it.
By Steve Pass
Last Updated: 30/11/10 7:41am
Andy Anson believes England are underdogs to win the 2018 World Cup vote but insists they can still do it.
World governing body Fifa is set to vote for the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Zurich on Thursday.
Anson, England 2018's bid chief executive, believes all is still to play for, although he admits they would have a better chance without the Panorama documentary on Monday night about Fifa.
He told Sky Sports News: "We know what our path is to victory, it's a path that we are pursuing.
"We understand all the options that are out there and the way things may work out and we are planning accordingly.
"So at this point we are optimistic but we know there is a lot of work to do this week and I think there are people who still have to decide."
Anson admitted he knows how many votes the England bid has already attracted but would not reveal the figure in public.
"I know who's committed to support us and I know the votes that I think we can get but we have got to work very hard over the next three days to make sure that everything comes to fruition."
Anson remains optimistic the England bid can prevail, adding: "We can win it, we can definitely win it. We may be underdogs as we sit here now but we can win it and that's what I'm bothered about."
Anson insisted the England bidding team is fully prepared for any eventuality regarding the number of people who will make the vote.
Asked how the prospect of a 23-man vote would change their strategy, he replied: "Well, I think we met a couple of weeks ago, I was very clear that we had a different plan and understood our options if it's 24 people, 23 people or 22 people and we know what the strategy is with 23.
"It means you've got to get 12 votes to get over the line rather than 13 if there were 24 people and so we know which 12 votes we are targeting."
Anson described the BBC as 'unpatriotic' last week regarding the timing of the Panorama documentary and reiterated his belief it will not win the England bid any votes.
"I think I have said in a way everything I need to say. Of course I'm disappointed with the timing and it's certainly not going to win us any votes so we just have to see what happens tonight and move on.
"I for one won't be watching it, I've got other things to do."
Anson added this week will be about consolidating existing support right up to the finishing line, as well as making sure the team can accumulate the votes they need to add on to those.
"I think there are people who may still have options and they are going to decide between various options," he said.
"And it's a complicated process. I think the fact that there are two votes running consecutively complicates the whole process for individual Fifa executive members as well as for the bidders themselves."