'England is ready to host 2022 World Cup' - Government sends out message to Fifa if Qatar is stripped of tournament

Culture Minister John Whittingdale tells MPs England is ready to stand in if needed as PM set to raise Fifa scandal at meeting of world leaders

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England stands ready to host the 2022 football World Cup if it is stripped from Qatar, the government has said.

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale told MPs that Fifa was becoming “more murky and distasteful by the day” in the wake of the corruption allegations that have engulfed it over the last fortnight.

He added that England would be ready to stage the tournament if asked by Fifa, but noted that it would be unlikely that another European nation would host the World Cup in 2022 if the 2018 tournament goes ahead as planned in Russia.

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John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, says England is ready to stand in to host the 2022 World Cup if Fifa need a replacement

The country made an unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup, which was won by Russia, but the “impressive” bid by the Football Association – spearheaded by Prince William – means England stands a good chance of being given the tournament if Fifa needs to find a replacement, according to Mr Whittingdale.

Downing Street confirmed that David Cameron will raise the Fifa scandal at the upcoming G7 meeting with world leaders this weekend.

The Prime Minister’s official spokeswoman said England “already has outstanding football facilities” but insisted the priority was “cleaning up Fifa”.

Mr Whittingdale, speaking in the House of Commons as MPs discussed the latest developments of the Fifa scandal, said: "In terms of the decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, that is obviously something which we are watching the investigation, but at the moment that decision stands.

"If it were decided to change that, I think as the chairman of the English FA observed, if Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018 it does seem very unlikely that another European country would host it in 2022.

"But obviously if Fifa came forward and asked us to consider hosting it, we have the facilities in this country and of course we did mount a very impressive, if unsuccessful bid to host the 2018 World Cup."

Speaking after Mr Whittingdale, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister was very clear that he wanted to see Sepp Blatter go and to clean up the beautiful game and there is now the opportunity to do that and to clean up Fifa.

"As the Culture Secretary was saying in the House this morning England already has outstanding football facilities."

She added: "The Prime Minister is keen to look at how you tackle issues of corruption, whether that is in a footballing organisation or is in countries or companies around the world.

“If you look at the G8 agenda he led on that was about how do we have more transparency and what role can the G8, as it was then, have in leading more of an effort to tackle corruption."

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