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Milton Keynes chosen for England's 2018 World Cup bid

Lord Mawhinney

Report - MK makes the grade

Milton Keynes will be part of England's 2018 World Cup bid after being named as a candidate host alongside 11 cities.

Applications from Derby, Hull and Leicester were rejected.

A total of 17 stadia will be proposed to Fifa, with the governing body making a final choice of venues in 2013, should England's bid be successful.

Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Nottingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth, Sheffield and Sunderland are also part of the bid.

England will find out if their bid to host the World Cup is successful in December 2010.

Although they are not guaranteed to host World Cup matches in the event of a successful bid, the decision represents something of a coup for Milton Keynes after the local team MK Dons were formed in controversial circumstances.

Milton Keynes can deliver - Winkelman

In 2002 Wimbledon FC, based in south west London, were given permission to move the club 70 miles to Milton Keynes. The move was made early in the 2003/04 season, with the name change made in June 2004.

At the time, the club cited financial reasons for the relocation but it angered many of the club's existing fans.

MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman said: "We're still very much a work in progress but I really think that the World Cup can re-enforce that agenda that we have got for growth and I think it will be really great for Milton Keynes.

"We have work to do on the stadium, yes, but the certainty and deliverability we have got - look how far we have come in the last few years - really gives people confidence that we can deliver.

"Milton Keynes has made a huge investment in football and is a great testament to how important football is in communities across England.

"The most important thing is simply that England win the rights to host the World Cup and just to be part of that process is a huge thing."

The Liverpool bid suffered a blow on the applications deadline day in November when the government backed a decision to refuse planning permission for Everton's new stadium at Kirkby.

However, Anfield - or a new Anfield, should it be far enough along the planning and building process - will figure in England's bid "not because it is an iconic football city, but because it has a stadium we feel will strengthen the bid," said Football League and selection panel chairman Lord Mawhinney.

Birmingham (Villa Park)
Bristol (New Ashton Gate)
Leeds (Elland Road)
Liverpool (Anfield or new Anfield)
London (Wembley, Emirates & Olympic Stadium or new Tottenham stadium)
Milton Keynes (Stadium:mk)
Nottingham (new Forest ground)
Manchester (Old Trafford & City of Manchester Stadium)
Newcastle (St James' Park)
Plymouth (Home Park)
Sheffield (Hillsborough)
Sunderland (Stadium of Light)

Three stadia will be forwarded from London - Wembley Stadium, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and either the Olympic Stadium or Tottenham's yet-to-be-built new ground.

The other stadia will be Sunderland's Stadium of Light, Villa Park in Birmingham, the new Nottingham Forest stadium, Elland Road in Leeds, Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium, St James' Park in Newcastle, the new Ashton Vale stadium in Bristol, Plymouth's Home Park, and Old Trafford and the City of Manchester Stadium.

"I have no doubt that this process has strengthened our bid considerably," said Mahwinney.

"There is a temptation to think of bids in terms of just stadia but we have spent a long time talking about travelling, accommodation and security and the decision we have made constitutes a composite of all the criteria that goes towards what makes a good host city.

"The choices we made represented our best judgement of the strongest possible combination to give England's bid the strongest attraction compared to other countries' bids for 2010.

"We always made it clear we aspired to having a wider geographical spread.

"We have some world famous stadia and the world would not understand if we didn't put them in the bid, (but) we felt we should have a sprinkling of tomorrow as well.

"We, as a bid team, are looking forward. We wanted to say to Fifa: 'We are looking at legacy and legacy is about tomorrow'.

"We heard enough about the new stadiums to put them on the list and we hope that will give local people the confidence to deliver them."

Geography not a factor - Mawhinney

All bidding nations have to sign up to deliver a number of guarantees and England's have been signed off several months ahead of the May 2010 deadline.

And that, said sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, was another sign the England bid was back on track after some initial problems with claims of infighting among the board.

"It is now united, and the guarantees, combined with our offer of a £2.5m loan which is on the table if they want to pick it up, underlines that," said Sutcliffe.

The guarantees were signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and various relevant ministers, while other commitments regarding security, visas and tax were also made.

Fifa obliges bidding nations to sign a confidentiality clause so the exact details of the guarantees are not being released.

It is likely that the tax guarantee is similar to the deal the government agreed with Uefa in order to stage the 2011 Champions League final at Wembley, where foreign players will be exempted from being taxed on their tournament earnings.

England bid chairman Lord Triesman said: "The guarantees underpin around £300m worth of financial commitment without which it would be impossible to host the tournament.


"This again demonstrates England's desire as a whole to meet and exceed Fifa's requirements.

"It also guarantees Fifa the most secure environment possible for the world's biggest sporting event in terms of security, financial, legal and commercial partner delivery."

As part of its ongoing campaign, a bid delegation led by Triesman made a formal presentation on Tuesday to Fifa executive committee member Dr Amos Adamu in Abuja, Nigeria.

The presentation included personal messages of support for the bid from Nigeria captain Kanu, Super Eagles midfielder John Obi Mikel and Ghana skipper Michael Essien.

Former Manchester United and England striker Andrew Cole, an England 2018 ambassador, was also part of the delegation.

"It's great to be involved with this bid and it's enjoyable meeting with people around the world to discuss it because it is something I completely believe in," Cole said.

"I would love a World Cup to be in our country as I think we would put on a fantastic show for football everywhere."

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see also
Plymouth set to prosper from bid
17 Dec 09 |  Plymouth
Reaction to 2018 bid cities announcement
16 Dec 09 |  Internationals
Johnson proud of Bristol 2018 bid
16 Dec 09 |  Bristol City
Cities make case for 2018 Cup bid
26 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Everton's stadium plan rejected
26 Nov 09 |  Everton
Beckham pledges 2018 bid effort
03 Dec 09 |  Internationals
England vaunts 2018 World Cup bid
01 Dec 09 |  Business
Richards resigns from 2018 board
24 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Rivals unite for World Cup bid
23 Jul 09 |  Merseyside

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