Page last updated at 16:37 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Cities win World Cup venue status

Leeds United's Elland Road stadium
Leeds United's Elland Road stadium is one of 15 selected across England

Leeds and Sheffield have been selected as candidate host cities for the England 2018 World Cup bid.

The FA has announced that the two Yorkshire cities will join 10 others to stage matches should the competition come to England in 2018.

The cities all made their cases for inclusion at the end of November.

Leeds council leader Andrew Carter said: "This will put Leeds firmly on the world map and give a multi-million pound boost to the local economy."

The Leeds bid received support from former and future World Cup host cities, Dortmund in Germany and Durban in South Africa.

Leeds also had the backing of Lille in France and Brasov in Romania after both countries' national teams played group matches in the city during Euro 96.

'Proud heritage'

Mr Carter said Leeds had submitted "a very strong bid" to the FA.

"Our proud football heritage, passion for sport and vision to leave a lasting legacy after the tournament makes us a perfect venue to be a host city for the world's biggest sporting event."

Sheffield Wednesday's Hillsborough stadium has also been selected as a potential World Cup venue, although the city's Bramall Lane ground, home to Sheffield United, misses out.

Sheffield bid director Wayne Coyle said: "We actually had no idea which one it would be.

"We're disappointed actually because we were hoping to get both through.

"We don't know the rationale or reason why specifically Hillsborough has been selected, but we are delighted the city has been."

He said both clubs had been "tremendous" throughout the bidding process.

A final decision on the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be made in December 2010.

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