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EDITIONS
2006 World Cup decision Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Banks 'bleak' over 2006 hopes
Tony Banks
Bidding for 2006: Banks (left) and Sir Bobby Charlton
England's hopes of staging the 2006 World Cup are looking "very bleak" after the hooliganism of its fans at Euro 2000.

The admission came from former Sports Minister Tony Banks, who is part of the team which has travelled the world trying to persuade Fifa members to favour England's bid.

Speaking on BBC Radio, Banks said the violence in Brussels and Charleroi, and Uefa's threat to throw England out of Euro 2000, has harmed its chances.

"Ours is accepted by Fifa as the best bid, but it is now looking very bleak indeed, because of the damage done by the images flashed round the world."

But he said that hopes of winning the 2006 Finals were not yet dead: "I have to travel optimistically, and I don't rule it out," he said.

Competing

Fifa's 24-member executive committee meets on 5-6 July to decide the venue for tournament in six years time.

England, who have not staged the World Cup since 1966, are competing against Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Morocco.

South Africa appear the favourites, and Fifa president Sepp Blatter has frequently expressed support for taking the finals to Africa for the first time.


Ours is accepted by Fifa as the best bid, but it is now looking very bleak indeed, because of the damage done by the images flashed round the world

Tony Banks
England's bid committee, which includes 1966 World Cup winners Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst, has constantly had to field questions about England's violent travelling fans.

Some 850 were detained in Brussels and Charleroi before and after England's 1-0 Euro 2000 victory over Germany.

England's first round elimination after their 3-2 loss to Romania may have helped slightly because there is no longer the danger of repeated fan violence.

Bookmakers William Hill have closed their book on which country will host the 2006 World Cup, claiming the current situation makes an accurate assessment of England's hopes impossible.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Tony Banks MP
"Damage has undoubtedly been done"
See also:

20 Jun 00 | Fans Guide
18 Jun 00 | Euro2000
19 Jun 00 | Euro2000
05 Jun 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
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