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  Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Fifa opens race for 2010
African countries begin bidding for World Cup
Fifa has began accepting applications for the 2010 World Cup - and is asking African nations to submit their bids.

World football's governing body has written to members of Caf, the Confederation of African Football, telling them they have until the end of the year to declare an interest.

Interested countries will then be asked to reconfirm by the end of April 2003.

Those countries that do so will have until 31 August to submit official bid documents.

Inspection teams will later visit each prospective host country and report back to the organisation's ruling executive.

A final decision will be taken in May 2004.

Only African nations are being allowed to bid for the 2010 World Cup following a Fifa's executive decision last year.

It ruled that the world's largest footballing showcase should be rotated from continent to continent.

The move was prompted by the controversy surrounding the award of the 2006 tournament to Germany in July 2000.

Germany beat off a strong challenge from South Africa, by 12 votes to 11, after a last-minute abstention by New Zealand's delegate.

South Africa are again favourites this time round to win the right to host the event.

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