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Monday, August 9, 1999 Published at 03:17 GMT 04:17 UK


Sport

England heroes boost World Cup bid

England are hoping for the thumbs up from Sepp Blatter

England greats of the past and present have been called up to spearhead the country's challenge to host the football World Cup in 2006.

Current England striker Michael Owen and 1966 World Cup winners Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst will be in Zurich on Monday to help kick off the official presentation of England's World Cup bid to football's governing body Fifa.


[ image: The big prize: The World Cup]
The big prize: The World Cup
They will join the Prime Minister's special World Cup 2006 envoy, former Sports Minister Tony Banks, as he puts the case for England to host the event.

England are in competition with Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Morrocco for the rights to host the prestigious tournament.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter will listen to all the countries' arguments over the next two days, with the winner announced next summer after consultation with Fifa's executive committee.

Joining Mr Banks in Zurich will be England 2006 campaign director Alec McGiven.

Tough competition

Mr McGiven said: "Our bid is internationalist and outward looking.

"We have a strong emotional case as the home of football, but we see this bid as renewing our commitment to the future of football."

A group of children are also escorting the 35,000-word bid document on a specially-decorated Boeing 777, bearing the message "Bringing Football Home".

England are seen as one of the strongest candidates for 2006 hosts.

They are likely to face tough competition from Germany, and particularly South Africa.

Mr Blatter has gone in the record in the past over his desire to see the World Cup played on the African continent for the first time, and the emotional appeal of a post-apartheid South Africa fullfilling that desire has made them favourites to win the bid.





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