When Simon Cowell is wheeled out to back England's 2018 World Cup bid to ignite one final PR push it must signal the final stages of an exhausting campaign that has been the equal of one of his reality shows for rollercoaster emotion and behind the scenes intrigue. It was Beatles week on the X-Factor and, for the England 2018 chief executive, Andy Anson, next Thursday's vote in Zurich will represent the end of a long and winding road.

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As this country commemorates the 21st anniversary today of the national football team’s painful loss to the United States in a 1989 World Cup qualifier, there is word that the coach of that team, Everald “Gally” Cummings, has taken the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and its special adviser, Austin Jack Warner, before the Equal Opportunity Commission.

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Jack & Oilver

It seems that Sepp Blatter’s covert campaign to evict Jack Warner from FIFA is getting under the skin of the UNC Chairman. Blatter is a subtle operator and his deftly managed campaign to give global publicity to my presentation at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami next week to an audience of US government investigators and prosecutors is rightly worrying Mr Warner.

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