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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 October 2007, 14:42 GMT
England rivals plan 2018 Cup bids
Wembley Stadium
The FA wants Wembley to host the 2018 World Cup final
England will face stiff competition in the battle to stage the 2018 World Cup as potential rivals begin to plan their own bids.

Belgium and the Netherlands have announced a joint bid, while Australia are exploring the logistics of bringing the tournament to their country.

Other contenders include China, Mexico, the USA, Japan, Russia and Spain.

The decision to end the policy of rotating the event between continents has thrown the 2018 race wide open.

England has not hosted a World Cup since the famous victory in 1966, although it did stage the European Championships in 1996.

606: DEBATE

The Football Association is set to hold a board meeting on Tuesday to decide on how to proceed with their plans.

Australia have never staged the World Cup before, but Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley said the decision to end rotation would work in his country's favour.

"We flagged our intention to bid for the World Cup at the earliest possible opportunity and we are delighted that the Fifa executive committee has decided to abandon the rotation policy," he said.

I think Australia's credentials stack up against anyone's in the world

Football Federation Australia chief executive Ben Buckley

"That will give us the opportunity to bid for and hopefully be successful in securing the right to host the 2018 World Cup.

"So whilst we will be competing with European-based nations and nations from all over the world, we think this will be a better system and a better opportunity for us.

"The race has only just started so I'm not sure anyone can be a shoo-in, and I think Australia's credentials stack up against anyone's in the world."

Australia has recent experience of major sporting events, having hosted the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2000 Olympics.

Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea and their Football Association president Saburo Kawabuchi said he would seriously consider another bid.

"As it will be possible for Japan to bid, we'd like to hold discussions with the parties concerned to seek our direction on the matter," said Kawabuchi.

Countries belonging to confederations that hosted the two preceding tournaments are barred from applying.

For 2018, that would rule out bids from Africa or South America, with South Africa hosting the tournament in 2010 and Brazil this week confirmed as 2014 hosts.



SEE ALSO
Fifa abandons World Cup rotation
29 Oct 07 |  Football
Fifa welcomes England 2018 bid
25 Oct 07 |  Football
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
England lands Cricket World Cup
30 Apr 06 |  Cricket


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