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Fifa unveils 2022 World Cup plan

Wembley Stadium
Wembley Stadium is likely to play a key role in England's 2018 bid

Host countries for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments will be decided at the same time, Fifa has announced.

Bidding opens simultaneously next month with the decision for both World Cup hosts to be made in December 2010.

Should a 2018 bid fail it now means countries can enter the 2022 vote straight after, as long as 2018's hosts are not from the same continent.

England wants to stage the 2018 World Cup and the bid team says the new dual process does not affect its planning.

"Fifa's announcement effectively sets the ball rolling on the whole process and so this marks the start of an intense but exciting period," said England's bid chairman Lord Triesman, also chairman of the Football Association, on Saturday.

Everybody knows England will be a candidate [for 2018], a strong candidate

Fifa president Sepp Blatter

"The bid strategy will continue to focus on a presentation that prepares England for a tournament in 2018.

"But the team will now study today's announcement to ensure complete understanding of the process required by FIFA and the wider option available.

"The announcement of a dual process doesn't affect our planning at all.

"Our mission is to ensure we have the support of everyone around the country so the world knows that England not only has the infrastructure to stage a tournament but also the enthusiasm to make it the best possible event in World Cup history."

Bidding for both tournaments is open to any countries, apart from those within African and South America in 2018.

That is because those continents will have hosted the World Cup in 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (Brazil).

Along with England, Belgium and the Netherlands have formally declared a joint bid for 2018 while Fifa president Sepp Blatter also said other countries to express an interest included Japan, China, Qatar, Mexico, the United States, Russia, and Australia.

Spain could lodge a bid in conjunction with Portugal, he added.

"We have a bunch of possible, even I would say very strong candidates," said Blatter. "And everybody knows England will be a candidate, a strong candidate."

Fifa's announcement on Saturday came as world football's governing body wrapped up its end-of-year executive committee meetings in Tokyo.

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see also
Tennis chief handed 2018 bid role
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Parry favours Reds over FA post
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Kenyon calls for 2018 bid unity
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FA chief targets top-flight cash
05 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Fifa World Cup bid plan delayed
24 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Beckham and Barnes join 2018 bid
19 Oct 08 |  Internationals
Gill & Mawhinney join 2018 board
12 Oct 08 |  Internationals
FA to spend 15m on World Cup bid
24 Apr 08 |  Football
England gets Beckenbauer backing
29 Jul 07 |  Football
Blatter knocks England 2018 hopes
28 Feb 07 |  Internationals
Caborn eyes 'formidable' 2018 bid
01 Jul 07 |  Internationals

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