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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 18:33 GMT
England to bid for 2018 World Cup
Wembley is the likely venue for the final should the bid be successful
The Football Association has confirmed it will bid for the 2018 World Cup.

The FA made an attempt to stage the tournament in 2006 but lost out as Germany won the right to play host.

But it believes the time is right to bid again after Fifa, the sport's world governing body, ended its controversial rotation policy earlier this week.

England will face strong competition to host the event, with Australia, China, Russia, United States, Belgium and the Netherlands, and Mexico all interested.

Bids need to be officially submitted by 2009, with Fifa's executive committee due to make a decision on the host nation in October 2011.

I think an England 2018 would be the best World Cup ever staged

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe
The cost of mounting a bid has been estimated at between 12m and 15m, less than half the bill for London's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

FA chairman Geoff Thompson said: "I'm delighted to announce our intention to bid to host the World Cup in 2018.

"This follows Fifa's announcement on Monday that the previous rotation policy will be discontinued, and the positive comments made by Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

"The tremendous support from Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his government has also been a key consideration in today's decision.

We are conscious this is a very long road we are embarking on

FA chief executive Brian Barwick
"I'm delighted the FA board have been so positive in their support for a bid. It would be tremendous for English football and the whole country if we are successful."

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe is confident England can win.

"It's bound to be a tough contest but just like the Olympic bid for 2012, I'm sure we can win," he said.

"England is the home of football, has the best stadiums and our people have a long-standing love affair with the game. I think an England 2018 would be the best World Cup ever staged."

FA chief executive Brian Barwick told BBC Sport: "We believe there is huge public support for this.

"We are conscious this is a very long road we are embarking on but we decided to start the journey today.

"It will be a real contest and we will absolutely respect the opposition.

"There will be no complacency or arrogance. We have got our job to do which is to sell this country, its football and football message to Fifa and the rest of the world and that's what we will do."


The FA looks to be in good financial shape to make a bid.

Barwick claims the organisation is in its "strongest ever financial position" after agreeing new international broadcast rights for the next four years.

The rights to FA Cup and England home games, which run from 2008-2012, are now worth a total of 145m compared to 39m for the previous four-year period.

England memorably hosted the World Cup once before in 1966, claiming their sole triumph in the tournament by beating West Germany 4-2 in the final.

Wembley hosted that match 41 years ago and the new stadium opened this year is sure to be among those used in 2018 should the FA's bid be successful.

Other grounds likely to be considered in the bid are:

  • Old Trafford, Emirates Stadium, St James' Park, Stadium of Light, City of Manchester Stadium, Villa Park, Stamford Bridge, Elland Road and the planned stadia at Liverpool, Everton, West Ham and Nottingham.

BBC Radio 5 Live sports news correspondent Gordon Farquhar says the FA's decision to launch a bid is not a surprise.

"There was always the attitude within the FA that if all the obstacles to a bid were removed, which they were when Fifa effectively dropped rotation on Monday, then why wouldn't it bid?" he said.

There is a feeling in the FA that now is the time to go for it

5 Live's Gordon Farquhar
"But there has always been this air of caution. It wanted to ensure the bid is winnable, because that is absolutely vital.

"Last time around the FA was pretty much stung by the fact that they were the victims of a split vote within Europe.

"It wasn't politically the most well-advised bid it put forward, so it wants to make sure it wasn't caught again.

"I understand what's happened at today's board meeting is that there is broad support and everyone is very enthusiastic about it. There is a feeling that now is the time to go for it."

The FA have put out their blueprint for the bid identifying the key issues as:

  • maximising support for England internationally

  • financing the bid and financial planning for the tournament

  • forming a bid team and who will lead it

  • identifying the stadiums and training facilities to be used

  • working with all stakeholders to ensure the infrastructure is in place to support the tournament - transport, hotels, communications etc

  • plans for supporters - domestic and international

  • the tournament's legacy - for football and the whole country

  • ensuring the tournament is inclusive to everyone

  • making England the number one bid and to host the best World Cup ever

Barwick thinks England are in an excellent position to win a bid, adding: "We believe we have a very strong case for making a successful bid and hosting a wonderful tournament."

Alex McGivan was the campaign manager for the World Cup 2006 bid which ultimately failed.

He told BBC 5 Live: "The critical question is what sort of support will England get from within Europe.

"This time it is still complicated because it looks like there are going to be other European candidates.

"There are 24 votes of which a third are European so it's pretty fundamental. You then have to go around five other blocks of votes around the world to try to get them to support you.

"Where we came unstuck was not being able to get the European votes in a line to support us."

He added: "There is a cost but if you win the prize is a wonderful one worth a lot more than 12m-15m."

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12 Oct 07 |  Football
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