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Fifa inspectors praise England 2018 World Cup bid


Fifa inspector positive on 2018 bid

Fifa's inspectors have broadly praised England's 2018 World Cup bid at the conclusion of a four-day visit.

The Fifa delegation were complimentary about transport, stadiums, security and the passion for football, raising only one question mark over accommodation.

Fifa team leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls said: "A World Cup in England in 2018 or 2022 would be a great experience with a long-lasting legacy."

The hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be revealed on 2 December.

Russia is expected to be England's biggest rival for the 2018 prize, with Spain/Portugal, the United States and Qatar also among the candidates.

The six-man Fifa team's visit included trips to a number of the proposed 2018 venues, including Wembley, Elland Road, St James' Park and Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

On Wednesday, the delegation were given a guided tour of Old Trafford by Manchester United legends Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Alex Ferguson.

The quality of the pitches was absolutely world class, so was the line-up of celebrities we had the chance to meet

Fifa team leader Harold Mayne-Nicholls

With Prime Minister David Cameron excused duties because of the birth of his daughter, the Fifa team also held meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, London mayor Boris Johnson and England manager Fabio Capello.

"Nick Clegg said that football is the glue that brings the country together," said Mayne-Nicholls, president of the Chilean football federation. "This commitment and passion we have seen in all the cities we have visited.

"The quality of the pitches was absolutely world class, so was the line-up of celebrities we had the chance to meet."

Mayne-Nicholls also praised plans to have each World Cup squad hosted by one of England's professional clubs.

But while he was largely complimentary about the infrastructure England already has in place, he suggested there was still room for improvement in the domain of accommodation.

"Concerning public transportation and event facilities, there seems to be no problem in hosting an event of such scope," he said.

"This also counts for safety and security matters. One thing Fifa are particularly focused on is accommodation as we need a very high number of quality rooms.


"This is why we ask all bidders for a certain number of contracted hotel rooms. We trust that you will be able to fulfil the necessary requirements."

England 2018 bid chief executive Andy Anson downplayed the issue over accommodation, describing it as a "technical formality", and promised to have organised the required 60,000 hotel rooms before the end of September deadline.

Anson said the bid team had achieved what they set out to achieve this week but stressed that there was still work to be done.

"We've put a very strong case forward that we've got a very strong technical bid," said Anson. "We've got 98 days to get out and convince Fifa we really do deserve to bring the World Cup to England."

In its early stages, England's efforts were dogged by in-fighting, with former board member Karren Brady admitting it was "fair comment" to say it looked like a shambles after Premier League chairman Dave Richards resigned from the bid team.

And the campaign was plunged into fresh crisis in May when bid chairman Lord Triesman was caught up in a newspaper sting suggesting Spain could drop its bid if rival bidder Russia helped bribe referees at the 2010 World Cup.

The scandal, and Triesman's immediate resignation, came two days after David Beckham had presented Fifa president Sepp Blatter with England's 1,752-page bid document.

This week's Fifa inspection followed a visit to Russia, in which they expressed concern over their ability to get everything ready on time.

With trips to 2022 hopefuls Japan, South Korea and Australia completed, Fifa will next look at the facilities of the joint Spain-Portugal bid and then the United States and Qatar in September.

Prospective World Cup stadiums

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see also
Man United greats back 2018 bid
25 Aug 10 |  Football
England 2018 Cup bid 'unbeatable'
23 Aug 10 |  Football
Italia 90 chief backs England bid
09 Jun 10 |  Business
World Cup bids head-to-head
17 Oct 10 |  Football
Beckham hands over 2018 Cup bid
14 May 10 |  Football
Richards resigns from 2018 board
24 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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