Brown backs Beckham as World Cup ambassador

Gordon Brown visited David Beckham’s football academy yesterday as the international footballer indicated he would like to front England’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

The prime minister, who has said he would like England to host the 2018 tournament, said Mr Beckham’s celebratory could help England clinch the bid.

“David Beckham is known in every part of the world,” he said yesterday.

“It is a matter for the Football Association (FA) but I’m sure David Beckham will be associated with every big sports campaign that happens in this country because of his reputation, and because of the fame and respect he has worldwide.”

Mr Beckham, who now plays for LA Galaxy in California, was involved in London’s successful campaign to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

The 32-year-old footballer told reporters he would be proud to be asked by the FA to act as a bid ambassador.

Mr Beckham said: “To bring the World Cup to England would be something special..and I would be honoured to be involved in that.”

“I was proud to be involved in 2012 and being involved in 2018 is something I would be interested in.”

During his visit to the football academy in Greenwich, Mr Brown praised Mr Beckham’s attempts to involve schoolchildren in football.

The prime minister said similar schemes run across the country could help children reach the government recommendation of five hours of sport a week.

Mr Brown said: “I want to see what goes on here having an influence in every part of the country.”

Figures show 86 per cent of school children currently take part in two hours of sport a week, falling short of official targets.

The prime minister continued: “You don’t have to be brilliant at sport to benefit from this and you can see what the kids are taking in about nutrition, diet and fitness.

“You can see from the kids that they are listening to what David says. He has support right across the country and what he does as an ambassador for sport generally is something we should be proud of.”

Yesterday’s visit followed Mr Beckham’s meeting with Mr Brown at Downing Street earlier in the week.