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Sebastien Coe to do some running for England's World Cup bid

February 18, 2009 |  2:45 pm

Sebastien Coe, the two-time Olympic gold medal-winning runner who led London's successful bid to stage the 2012 Games and is now head of its organizing committee, has agreed to throw his weight behind England's effort to stage the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

Sebastien Coe Coe, 52, took a leave of absence from his position as chairman of FIFA's ethics committee in order to accept a place on the board of the English bid team.

"I am passionate about football," said Coe, an ardent Chelsea fan. "Winning [the right to stage] the World Cup would be a golden era for sport in the U.K. following the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014."

England is vying with a dozen other countries, including the U.S., for the right to stage the World Cup. Its preference is to play host to the 2018 event.

If FIFA, world soccer's governing body, later dictates that 2018 will only be awarded to a European country or countries, England's opposition would be Russia, a joint bid by Spain and Portugal and a joint bid by Holland and Belgium.

Also bidding for either of the World Cups are Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, and South Korea.

A decision on the 2018 and 2022 hosts will be made by FIFA in December 2010.

-- Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Sebastien Coe in 2005. Credit: Sang Tan / Associated Press