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Home Secretary, Jack Straw
"Timing of measures influenced by World Cup bid'
 real 28k

Former football hooligan, Dougie Brimson
"If you say we are not going to let you out of the country, that increases the excitement"
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Wednesday, 5 July, 2000, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
World Cup bid 'influenced' soccer crackdown
England's Nick Barmby (left) with manager Kevin Keegan (centre) and Michael Owen
Decision day looms for England's World Cup bid
The timing of the announcement of new measures aimed at cracking down on football hooligans was "strongly influenced" by negotiations on England's bid to stage the 2006 World Cup, Home Secretary Jack Straw has said.

Officials from soccer's world governing body, Fifa, will decide this week whether England's government-backed bid to host the tournament will beat a challenge from South Africa.

But Mr Straw denied that his statement made to Parliament on Tuesday - in which he announced proposals to prevent suspected hooligans travelling abroad for games - had been a "blatant" attempt to sway the bid result.

He said on Wednesday: "The timing of the announcement that I made to parliament was very strongly influenced by the fact that Fifa are meeting today and tomorrow to discuss the site of the World Cup competition in 2006.

"And given the fact that we had this in mind for the period we were working the proposals up, it would have been daft to have published them at the end of the week rather than the beginning," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

South Africa's logo
South Africa also wants to stage the World Cup
"But my desire to get the legislation through as quickly as possible...is not dictated by the possibility of a World Cup competition in the UK in 2006, which is six years away, but by various qualifying games and a friendly between England and France in Paris in early September where there could be hooligans and trouble and we wish therefore to have these measures on the statute book as quickly as is sensible."

Mr Straw denied that England had already lost the 2006 bid.

"I think the one thing we ought to know about football, and the Italian supporters were reminded very starkly about it on Sunday, which is that in anything to do with football the game is not over until the final whistle blows.

"We do not know. Odd things have already happened with Brazil withdrawing early and as far as our bid for the World Cup in 2006 is concerned, it is a very good bid."

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See also:

05 Jul 00 | Scotland
Scots loophole in anti-hooligan law
05 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Hooligan ban plans set out
04 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Soccer thugs face travel ban
22 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Hague offers help on hooligans
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Labour 'inaction' blamed for violence
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