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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 October 2007, 08:17 GMT 09:17 UK
Fifa welcomes England 2018 bid
Wembley
Wembley could stage the 2018 World Cup final
Fifa boss Sepp Blatter would welcome a bid from England to host the 2018 World Cup after confirming his intention to scrap the tournament's rotation policy.

But Blatter also warned England that they will face stiff competition.

"We shall make the World Cup available to everybody bar the last confederation which has organised it," said Blatter.

"England is the motherland of football and I'd welcome a bid for 2018, but we've already had talks with China, and Australia are always in the running."

Under the new proposal, no South American countries will be able to bid for the 2018 World Cup as Brazil look set to host the 2014 tournament.

606: DEBATE

That decision came about after Argentina and Colombia pulled out, leaving Brazil as the sole representative for South America.

Blatter told BBC's Football Focus programme last week it was a scenario he did not want to repeat for 2018 and said he wanted to open up the market.

The Football Association has welcomed Blatter's comments, but will wait until they are ratified by Fifa's executive committee on Tuesday before announcing whether they will actually bid.

An FA spokesman told BBC Sport: "The indications that the rotation policy is to be opened up is good news as we would like to bid for 2018, but we are awaiting official clarification."

Blatter, who was in Sheffield this week, told prime minister Gordon Brown that a World Cup in England was due.

To host the 2018 World Cup would be a marvellous completion of the best sporting decade in our history

Prime minister Gordon Brown

"The last time we had the World Cup there (in England) was 1966 and by 2018 that will be practically three generations," he said.

"But England will not be the only candidates. As well as China and Australia, there are the United States, Mexico and perhaps Canada.

"In Europe there is Russia and I will have talks with Holland and Belgium next month about whether a combined candidature is valid."

Brown added: "While a bid is a matter for the FA, it would be a huge boost to football in our country and would also make for a great sporting decade.

"We will have the Olympics in 2012, potentially the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, perhaps even the rugby union World Cup in 2015 and then to be able to host the 2018 World Cup would be a marvellous completion of the best sporting decade in our history."



SEE ALSO
Blatter gives England 2018 boost
12 Oct 07 |  Football
England get 2018 World Cup boost
25 Sep 07 |  Internationals
Blatter to step up Euro quota bid
05 Oct 07 |  Football Focus
Brazil wants 2014 World Cup
31 Jul 07 |  Football


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