Page last updated at 10:00 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 11:00 UK

Lineker backs 2018 World Cup bid

Walkers Stadium
Gary Lineker said the Walkers Stadium would be perfect for the World Cup

Former England and Leicester City striker Gary Lineker has confirmed his support in Leicester's bid to become a host city for the 2018 World Cup.

It is hoped Leicester City's Walkers Stadium will become a centrepiece of the bid.

Lineker said: "My home town has proved that it can rise to the big occasion, putting on fantastic national events like the Special Olympics."

The government has backed an English bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

The former England striker added: "As someone who was lucky enough to have played in two World Cups, I know that it's no exaggeration to call the tournament the biggest event in the world.

"Millions of people around the world will be watching - and it would be absolutely brilliant if all those eyes could be on Leicester.

"Leicester would be the perfect host city for the 2018 World Cup - and that's why I'm proud to back Leicester's bid."

Unique opportunity

Lineker played 80 games for England scoring 48 goals in his eight-year international career.

City council leader Ross Willmott said he was confident people would get behind the bid.

He said: "We need to prove to the FA that we really want the World Cup to come to Leicester," he said.

"Hosting the World Cup is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for our country - and if England wins the right to stage the 2018 World Cup, we want to do everything we can to make sure that Leicester's involved."

An outline bid setting out how Leicester qualifies for being a host city must be presented to the Football Association by 8 July.

In December the city will find out if it is a candidate city.

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