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Page last updated at 19:07 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 20:07 UK

2018 bid chief calls for humility

David Beckham and Wayne Rooney attended the bid launch at Wembley
David Beckham and Wayne Rooney attended the bid launch at Wembley

The chief executive of England's bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup is optimistic of success but says they must not fall victim to arrogance.

Andy Anson says lessons have been learned from the unsuccessful attempt to host the 2006 competition.

While praising England's stadia and passion for football, Anson made it clear that attitudes have to change.

"We cannot be arrogant or complacent. This campaign has to be about working hard," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"One of the things we learned from the last World Cup bid was we were perceived to be arrogant around the world in how we presented ourselves.

Prince William backs World Cup bid

"The tone of this campaign has to be different. We will certainly not be saying that football is coming home. It was an arrogant slogan."

England's launch party, hosted by the BBC's Adrian Chiles, was held at Wembley Stadium on Monday and attended by past and present England players, including Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst and Wayne Rooney, as well as Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Speaking at the launch, the chairman of the Football Association, Lord Triesman, said: "We in England would be truly honoured to host the World Cup and welcome the world.

"We have first-class grounds. We've got good transport links, domestically and internationally. We've got excellent accommodation. England would be truly honoured to host the tournament."

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He added: "A World Cup in England would be a truly memorable event - not only for our nation but for every nation.

"We'd extend a wonderful welcome to players and fans from across the world.

"Inside and outside our grounds, we'd share with them our love of the game and our sense of fair play.

"And they would enjoy our diverse culture - one that means England would provide a home-from-home welcome for every fan and player.

"We believe that England can stage a fantastic festival of football, one that will engage the whole country and deliver positive change for football in England and across the world.

"Now we must persuade our international friends and colleagues of our case. That's easy to say, far less easy to do.

"Our starting point is England's passion for football. It is our national sport, we have a strong football heritage which runs through every town and city."

Lord Triesman, who is the bid chairman, stressed the impact a World Cup would have on the population and the economy.

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"The positive effect of hosting the World Cup will be felt right through England," he said.

"It will be the pride, the prestige, excitement of hosting, giving the whole population the opportunity to experience world-class football on their doorstep.

"There will be economic benefits across the whole country and there will be the inspiration it will give to grass-roots football, creating a new generation of home-grown talent.

"What could be more inspiring than the dream of England winning the Fifa World Cup on home soil, and fuelling the passion for football that we knows burns in hearts and pitches the length and breadth of this country?"

Politicians from all three major parties gave their backing to the bid at Monday's launch, either in person or by video.

"This Government is fully committed to this bid," said Prime Minister Brown, who was at Wembley.

"It would be an absolute privilege to host this fantastic sporting event and I know this country, with its first-class stadiums and tremendous passion for football, would host an incredible tournament.

Players want World Cup in England

"It's fitting that we are launching the bid in England, the home of football, and at Wembley - the greatest stadium in the world."

There was something of a public-relations embarrassment after it emerged British National Party politician Richard Barnbrook was at the campaign launch.

An England 2018 spokesman confirmed the presence of a member of the right-wing party and said: "All elected members of the GLA (Greater London Authority) were invited to the launch.

"We recognise that the presence of one elected member, who is playing no part in the England 2018 bid, has caused offence and we apologise. He should not have been present at the event and will not be at any in the future."

Fifteen English cities have been short-listed as prospective venues for matches.

They comprise Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland in the north, Birmingham, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham in the Midlands, and Bristol, London, Milton Keynes and Portsmouth in the south.

Fifa will decide who hosts the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010.

The decision rests with Fifa's 24-man executive committee. Spain and Russia are expected to be England's main rivals in Europe, while the US and Australia are among the other countries bidding.

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David Beckham will front England's official bid to host the competition.

"To have the World Cup in your own country is the dream of any player," said the midfielder, who holds the most England caps for an outfield player.

"I know first hand the passion of our fans and they would provide an incredible atmosphere at every game.

"The passion doesn't just stop at Premier League level. It's from the grass-roots and the amateur leagues right through every league.

"Our country is renowned for getting excited by big events. I don't think any country in the world can compete with us for that."

Political leaders unite for 2018 bid

Beckham could find himself up against President Barack Obama, who is expected to lead the US campaign.

However, it has been suggested that the English and American bids could join forces, with one targeting the 2018 tournament while the other focuses on 2022.

In all, nine countries are bidding to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022, with two more nations focusing their bids on 2022 alone.


Countries bidding to host the World Cup

2018 or 2022: Australia, Belgium-Netherlands (joint bid), England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Portugal-Spain (joint bid), Russia, US

2022: Qatar, South Korea



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see also
Triesman calls for World Cup bid support
18 May 09 |  Internationals
Bristol ready for World Cup role
18 May 09 |  Bristol City
England submits back-up 2022 bid
16 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Fifa unveils 2022 World Cup plan
20 Dec 08 |  Internationals
Kenyon calls for 2018 bid unity
11 Nov 08 |  Football


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