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EDITIONS
2006 World Cup decision Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
Uefa set to back Germany
England's World Cup bid
England's bid still has government backing
England's 2006 World Cup bid team have attempted to put their plans back on track - and they have got the backing of the British government, if not the support of Uefa.

Europe's governing football body met in Rotterdam to discuss the merits of England's and Germany's bids to host the 2006 World Cup finals and will decide at a number of meetings over the next week where their votes will go.

The two countries along with Brazil, Morocco and South Africa have to present their case to Fifa on 5 July, and a decision will be announced the next day.

The prospects for England's 10m campaign appear to have been damaged by the behaviour of some England supporters at Euro 2000.

Sir Geoff Hurst
Sir Geoff Hurst has worked hard on England's bid
However it is thought that Uefa were already going to back the German bid as they were the first to announce their intention to host the tournament in 2006.

And England apparently went back on a gentleman's agreement to support Germany after the Germans backed England's bid to host Euro 96.

The task facing campaign director Alec McGivan has not been helped by the running street battles in Brussels and Charleroi which accompanied England's Euro 2000 victory over Germany.

Government backing

And suggestions at the weekend that Prime Minister Tony Blair had requested that the whole bid be scrapped to save embarrassment suggested that England were ready to throw in the towel.


The hardline members of UEFA have made no secret of their support for the German bid

Alec McGivan

However, McGivan is not giving up his four-year fight despite condemning Uefa for their threat to kick England out of Euro 2000.

"Was such public posturing necessary?" said McGivan.

"The hardline members of UEFA have made no secret of their support for the German bid.

"One could not help wondering if there was not a whiff of Byzantine politics here."

Tony Blair
Tony Blair: Bid to be scrapped?
Philip Townend, spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, confirmed the project still has Government backing.

"We have given the guarantees which are required to host the competition and stand by them," he said.

With the FIFA delegates beginning to arrive ahead of this week's Euro 2000 semi-finals, McGivan knows his core support could now be as low as two - Scotland and New Zealand - which could make England the first country to be eliminated.

Less than a month ago, McGivan and the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst were genuinely optimistic about England's chances.

Now McGivan is convinced that Germany cannot win the vote and that unless England can revive their own campaign, bookies' favourites South Africa are certain to emerge triumphant.

See also:

18 Jun 00 | Euro2000
05 Jun 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
05 Jun 00 | Euro2000
15 May 00 | Fans Guide
Links to more 2006 World Cup decision stories are at the foot of the page.


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