Elliott expects anti-racism campaigns to boost bid
Paul Elliot feels England’s campaign to abolish racism in football will give the country an edge over their rivals in their bid to host the 2018 World Cup.
Elliot, who was appointed as an ambassador for the bid last year, has been at the forefront of several movements aimed at stamping out racism and homophobia since he called time on his playing career 15 years ago.
Instances of racism on the terraces have been reduced by anti-racism hotlines, while posters feature prominently at all Football League grounds across the United Kingdom.
Russia, who are thought to be England’s biggest competition to host the tournament, have seen their public image blemished by racist chanting during domestic games, although they are adamant it is not an issue.
While stopping short of criticising the Russians’ bid, former Chelsea defender Elliot admits England’s efforts to rid the game of racism are likely to work in their favour when the winning host is announced in Zurich in December.
He said: “I can’t talk about other bids due to Fifa rules but what I can say is that we have showcased the fantastic work that we have been doing with the Kick It Out campaign and Show Racism The Red Card in our bid.
“It’s an important part of our campaign and an important part of the legacy of the bid.
“In our submissions to Fifa we highlighted how we thought the anti-racism campaigns were doing and how important they would be in the legacy.
“What we are doing in this country is right and we hope that they recognise that.”
Elliot featured in the team which showed the Fifa technical committee around the stadia which will be used at the World Cup if England are successful in their bid.
He insists the bid team, which has been hit by bad publicity since lodging their bid, have done everything in their power to win the campaign to host the prestigious event for the first time since 1966.
“We have been working really hard and lobbying and engaging with Fifa,” said Elliott.
“It is just business as usual. We are positive in terms of our stadia, diversity and passion for the game. We had the FIFA inspection and they were greatly impressed.
“We have no divine right to host the World Cup. We have to earn it but I am sure that we have done absolutely everything we can to make sure that we get it.”
From Sky Sports