Minnow in World Cup win

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The Independent Online
A FAMILY firm based in Cheadle Hulme near Manchester has won a pounds 200m contract to organise all the accommodation for next year's football World Cup in the US, writes Jason Nisse.

The contract involves up to 1.75 million bookings in nine cities across North America, taking in accommodation for the 24 teams and more than 10,000 people from the media. The bookings from the official travel clubs of the teams and all tour operators are also being routed through the tiny company.

The World Cup Accommodation Bureau, which has established an office in Los Angeles, is run by two Anglo-Mexican brothers, Enrique (pictured right) and Jaime Byrom, their wives and their two sisters. Before the contract, it had just 12 staff.

It was set up when the Byrom brothers - through a contact of their grandfather's in the Mexican FA - won some contracts to organise travel and accommodation for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. They followed this up with bookings at Italia '90 and have been consultants on logistics for the World Cup USA '94 Organising Committee since 1989. Robyn Byrom, Enrique's wife, said: 'We were working towards gaining some sort of contract. We did not envisage dealing with all the accommodation.'

To handle the work, the firm has had a software package developed for it by Sema Group, which built up booking systems for the Barcelona Olympics.