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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