Weber Shandwick and Havas fight for 2018 bid account

Weber Shandwick and Havas Sport are vying for the chance to promote the England 2018 World Cup bid, as concerns over the campaign's progress mount.

Closing stages: 2018 World Cup bid

PRWeek understands that the two agencies took part in a final-round pitch for the year-long comms blitz, which is expected to begin in December.

Earlier this month, FIFA vice-chairman Jack Warner dismissed England's 2018 bid as 'lightweight'.

England 2018 comms director Kris Dent told PRWeek the team was focused on the technical aspects of the bid and ensuring its lobbying programme of the key FIFA voters was 'world-class'.

'We are determined to ensure we have a campaign that is compelling. We have focused on talking and listening to people across world football to understand the right way to approach a bid,' he said.

The campaign has been boosted by the inclusion of David Beckham as a heavyweight brand ambassador. Beckham played a similar role in the successful London 2012 Olympics bid and is considered as English football's most bankable global asset. Other World Cup bids, including Holland/Belgium, the US, Qatar and Russia, have had PR agencies in place for the past six months.

England 2018 called in Pitch PR to handle the official launch of the bid in May.

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