By Bill Wilson
BBC News, Johannesburg
England's bid for the 2018 World Cup may have to pass an initial elimination vote because so many countries are interested in hosting the event.
Wembley is the likely venue for the final should the bid be successful
Fifa president Sepp Blatter said a short-list of candidate nations could be named before the host country is unveiled in 2011.
England are desperate to host the competition they last staged in 1966.
But they already face competition from the USA, Canada, Mexico, Russia, China, Belgium/Holland and Spain.
Blatter said Fifa could now follow the Olympics by whittling the list down from up to nine possible bid countries before choosing the winner.
He added it would also allow Fifa to weed out candidates without the proper credentials.
The International Olympic Committee was faced with the same problem more than a decade ago and decided to reduce the number of bid cities to cut costs of all involved.
Blatter said: "If there will be as many candidates as it appears there might be, then we will have to do what the IOC does and have a preliminary elimination.
"We would follow the IOC's method, and cut down the list of those who had given preliminary indications of interest into a shorter list of those who had given us the right guarantees."
The British government is fully backing the FA's decision to bid for the tournament, and former sports minister Richard Caborn has been given the role of World Cup 2018 ambassador.
Fifa has ended its policy of rotating the tournament between confederation areas but has excluded Africa, which hosts the 2010 event, and South America, which hosts 2014, from bidding for 2018.
The winning bidder for 2018 will be announced before Fifa's Congress of 2011.