England's 2018 World Cup bid has been hit by slurs against the private life of David Beckham, a key member of the team aiming to bring the tournament back to England.
Just two days before FIFA announces whether England have succeeded, Beckham - England's most iconic sporting ambassador - finds himself targeted by German-based publishing firm Bauer which has filed papers in a Los Angeles court claiming he has a "reputation for adultery". The Daily Star quoted Beckham as saying the allegations were part of a "desperate smear campaign".
Earlier in the year In Touch magazine, which is published by Bauer, made a series of claims against Beckham which he vigorously denied, later filing a law suit for damages of £16 million. According to the Daily Star, Bauer's defence document was leaked this week to a well known US gossip site.