England's bid for the 2018 World Cup will be monitored by a new watchdog headed by London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe.
Following meetings with Fifa president Sepp Blatter in Zurich on Monday, Coe has been asked to introduce guidelines for bidding countries in his role as head of the governing body's ethics committee, reports the Daily telegraph. A Fifa source denied the move was designed to deflect criticism of the committee's failure to tackle any major cases in the 12 months since they were set up.
Coe said: "At the meeting in December, the ethics committee will discuss its role in the bidding process for the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the outcome of discussions I had with Fifa over the last few months about the working structure of the ethics committee."
The move to set up clear bidding guidelines is an indication of just how fierce competition is expected to be. With Fifa set to scrap their continental rotation policy this month, opening the door for European countries to stage the 2018 finals, England have already declared their intention to bid.
But America, China, Russia and Australia are all expected to throw their hat in the ring along with a joint bid from Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.
Fifa want to draw on Coe's experience in leading London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics to ensure the process is not open to corruption.