Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Tuesday, 1 December 2009

England vaunts 2018 World Cup bid chances

By Bill Wilson
Business reporter, BBC News, Johannesburg

David Beckham
David Beckham is one of the World Cup ambassadors for England 2018

England officials say they believe they could deliver the most "commercially successful" 2018 World Cup.

England is competing with a number of countries, including Spain-Portugal, Russia, US and Netherlands-Belgium, to host the global football tournament.

Its bid team is at Soccerex in South Africa ahead of Friday's 2010 cup draw.

"We would be the most commercially successful World Cup that Fifa could ever ask for," said England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson.

"The English football market is the probably the most mature commercial market in existence."

He said the evidence could be seen in the continuing large television revenues English football was securing and in its large commercial deals, such as the recent sponsorship contract signed by Liverpool with Standard Chartered Bank.

'Fantastic' stadiums

Mr Anson has a strong background in business and has worked for Andersen Consulting, Walt Disney, and Manchester United.

"We are confident that as a football market we have the model in place to put on the most successful World Cup - that will appeal to Fifa," he said.

"We have the full support of the Premier League, and fantastic infrastructure in place in terms of stadiums, transport and security.

"We also have a history of putting on sporting events."

The two World Cups before 2018 - in South Africa and Brazil - are seen more as moves by Fifa to include developing economies in hosting its major football event, rather than as outright commercially-driven ventures.

"In terms of the Premier League, Football League and television broadcasting, we have the best infrastructure to help Fifa achieve its long-term aims," he said.

And he said the England bid had another boost in the shape of current and former players who have been enrolled as World Cup ambassadors for England 2018.

They include David Beckham, Andy Cole and John Barnes, among others.

'Sensible' bid

Mr Anson also rejected claims that the England bid was suffering in terms of its budget when compared with rivals such as Russia.

The Russian bid team says it has $20m earmarked from private sources and another $20m in state backing.

"We are in good shape financially, we have the funds to make the best possible bid, we are not going to squander the money we have, but run a sensible bid," he added.

Mr Anson said that £15.5m as a "base budget" had been earmarked for the bid, which included FA and commercial money.

"I have been involved in the marketing of football for some time and it is not about money, it is about the marketing strategy.

"I am confident we have the resources for a successful bid."

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