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Page last updated at 11:31 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 12:31 UK

Bristol ready for World Cup role

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Location key to Bristol's hopes - Lansdown

Bristol City hope their new stadium will be able to host World Cup matches if England's bid to stage the 2018 or 2022 competition is successful.

England launch their bid on Monday and Bristol hope to get the chance to host four or five games at the tournament.

"This is the biggest single event that could happen to Bristol in our lifetime," club chief executive Colin Sexstone told BBC Radio Bristol.

"The whole city must unite behind it. It's not just about Bristol City."

The club, which is expected to submit plans for a new ground at Ashton Vale later this month, faces stiff competition with as many as 15 cities bidding to stage matches.

And although the new ground is being designed for around 30,000 spectators, Sexstone said there is the possibility of raising that to 42,000 if the tournament comes to England.

"That's what's required for a World Cup and it could be done on temporary seating. That's what was done in Germany in 2006 at a very economic price," he added.

"And we've got a great chance. We're the only contender from the South West and probably one of the only contenders south of the M4.

"Fifa has made it absolutely clear that to be a successful bid the Football Association needs to get a geographical spread. That gives us a golden opportunity and it's up to us to get everybody behind it and make it happen."

Based on the impact of international matches on host cities elsewhere in Europe, the overall economic benefit to Bristol could be as much as £100m.

Fifa will decide who hosts the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, with Spain and Russia expected to be England's main rivals in Europe, while the USA and Australia are among the other countries bidding.



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