Russians use Vladimir Putin factor in hope of scuppering England's 2018 World Cup bid

By Andrew Warshaw for MailOnline

Secret weapon: Russia PM Vladimir Putin

Secret weapon: Russia PM Vladimir Putin

Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, is being lined up as the secret weapon that could scupper England's 2018 World Cup hopes when final presentations are made before FIFA in Zurich on December 2.

Putin was widely credited with pushing Sochi over the line when the Black Sea resort upset the odds to land the 2014 Winter Olympics.

'He has impact the very moment he walks into a room,' said Russian 2018 bid leader Alexei Sorokin. '

'He's that kind of figure. It's always beneficial when a government leader can say, "I can guarantee".'

The Russians were at the same Cairo meeting as England bid officials last week, trying to convince the four Africans among FIFA's 24-strong executive committee to vote for them.

'We all know the importance of African votes since they do not come from confederations that are bidding,' said Sorokin. 'They are very important for everybody.'

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