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Fuming Putin accuses England of 'dirty tricks' before 2018 World Cup bid

December 2, 2010 - London

A fuming Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused England of launching a 'dirty tricks campaign' to secure its right to host the 2018 World Cup.

The crunch vote as to which country will host the event takes place later today.

According to the Daily Mail, Putin told Russian ministers he would not travel to Switzerland to support his country's bid because of a 'media onslaught' that amounted to 'unfair competition'.

The Russian bid was the favourite, but with England employing a three-pronged attack of Prince William, Prime Minister David Cameron and football legend David Beckham the tables appear to be turning.

Cameron is in Zurich spelling out why England's bid is the best, but rival bidder Russia will be without their prime minister after he refused to travel.

Cameron spent last night charming delegates - who could land England the competition in 2018 - before jetting back to London to do battle at the dispatch box with Labour leader Ed Miliband.

But immediately after he was back to Zurich to join his striking partners William and Beckham - dubbed the Three Lions - for the a last-ditch charm offensive.

A furious Putin said: "I would like to note that recently we have watched with disappointment as an obvious campaign was being unleashed against members of the FIFA executive committee. They are being compromised and smeared in dirt."

"I consider it as part of unscrupulous bit of competition in preparations for the selection of the host-country for the World Cup. I would love to represent our entry in person. However, under these circumstances, I think it would be best not to go out of respect for the members of the FIFA executive committee, so that they could make their decision in peace and without any outside pressure," he added.

Cameron, on the other hand, believes that England's chances of hosting the 2018 World Cup are very bright.

"If you look at the technical aspects we have got the stadia, we have got the facilities, we have the transport networks, we have the enthusiasm within our country for football and we can put on an absolutely first class World Cup," he said.


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