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Last Updated: Sunday, 29 July 2007, 11:33 GMT 12:33 UK
England gets Beckenbauer backing
Former Germany World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer's backing is a big boost for England
Former Germany World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer has backed England's hopes of staging the 2018 tournament.

Beckenbauer, a member of Fifa's executive committee, believes the continental rotation policy should end.

He told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek: "There is no better country in Europe to host the World Cup in 2018. England is the favourite."

England are set to launch an official bid next year, and the government has indicated its support.

Former sports minister Richard Caborn has already been appointed as World Cup ambassador.

And Beckenbauer, who headed Germany's organising committee for the 2006 finals, believes England have a great chance of hosting the event.

He added: "The most important thing is to end the rotation and bring the tournament back to Europe.

606: DEBATE
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"The Premier League at the moment is the best league in Europe and the stadiums are outstanding.

"In my opinion, there is only one very serious candidate and it is England.

"I think there is not really a problem to pick a host of the 2018 World Cup."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is expected to end the rotation experiment, but he insisted that Europe has no divine right to host the 2018 tournament.

Instead, Fifa are likely to approve a format which only precludes the continents which held the previous two World Cups from bidding again, which in 2018, would be Africa and South America.

Despite Beckenbauer's backing, England are expected to face strong competition from Russia and Italy among European countries, while Fifa may choose to give it to an emerging football nation such as China or Australia.

SEE ALSO
Blatter knocks England 2018 hopes
28 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Beckenbauer will back England bid
28 Jan 07 |  Internationals
Caborn eyes 'formidable' 2018 bid
01 Jul 07 |  Internationals


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