England 2018: Football United

An England 2018 World Cup would see "Football United", according to a star-studded video released ahead of this Thursday's crucial FIFA vote.

While the football world discusses the impact of Panorama's investigations into alleged FIFA corruption, the England 2018 bid team has gone on the front foot with the video, in which David Beckham leads a cast of Premier League stars showcasing a new global fund for football.

The film cuts between Premier League match footage and scenes from grassroots football and coaching sessions in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, the type of which the Football United fund concept would support.

In the film, Beckham - who is vice president of the bid - asks us to "imagine the kind of change we could create together" as a result of the "Football United" concept.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who watched a version of the film with Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street in October, has praised the scheme highlighting the "legacy it would have for the world".

The video also stars England captains Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard alongside international stars 'united' behind the proposal, including Ghana's Michael Essien and Asamoah Gyan, Honduran Wilson Palacios and Brazilian Alex.

England 2018 Chief Executive, Andy Anson, commented: "We want a World Cup in England to have the most impactful global legacy imaginable.  We believe our 'Football United' proposals can benefit a generation of people around the world because we have all of English football behind it.

"This film will give people a sense of the support we already have for 'Football United' from players of all different nationalities through to clubs and community coaches.

"Football United will aim to match FIFA's current annual investment in grassroots football and social development to reach one billion people and benefit each of FIFA's 208 member associations in consultation with FIFA."

In developing its plans for Football United, England 2018 has consulted organisations such as the Football Foundation and Comic Relief.

Football Foundation Chief Executive Paul Thorogood said: "Having invested over £670 million in grassroots football facilities and community projects in this country over the past decade, we know how effective football can be as a tool to help tackle major social issues. This is an exciting opportunity."

The decision on who hosts the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be made by FIFA in Zurich this Thursday, 2 December.


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