Football: Blatter clatters into England World Cup bid

AS ENGLAND'S bid to host the 2006 World Cup was officially submitted yesterday, the most powerful man in world football again took the opportunity to throw his weight behind South Africa's effort to secure the tournament.

"If Africa manages, on a communications level, on the level of the terms and conditions, to meet the demands, it should get the World Cup," Sepp Blatter, the president of Fifa, football's world governing body, said. "Africa has the right to organise the World Cup for all it has given to football," he added. Blatter, who has often argued the case for Africa, said he had explained his support for South Africa to Prime Minister Tony Blair on a visit to London last week.

His stance has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the English FA. England's bid, signed by Keith Wiseman, the FA's chairman, and Graham Kelly, the chief executive, landed on a desk at Fifa's headquarters in Zurich yesterday, seven weeks ahead of the 31 December deadline for countries to officially say they wish to stage the 2006 finals.

Whether the English proposals will ever get beyond the drawing board stage will not only depend on whether South Africa manage to convince Fifa's 24-man voting committee that it is capable of hosting the event. Should South Africa fail to do so, England will still face stiff competition from the Germany.

One eventuality that can certainly be ruled out - should South Africa fail in its bid - is a World Cup co-hosted by England and Germany. Blatter said yesterday that co-hosting was wrong, and added that awarding the 2002 finals to Japan and South Korea had been a mistake. "It's not something to be repeated," he said. "Ask the Belgians and the Dutch [the joint hosts of Euro 2000] if they're happy to organise the next Euro jointly. If they are sincere, they will answer `no'," he said. "It poses problems. Who gets the opening match, who gets the final? On top of that, between Korea and Japan there is a real tradition of antipathy."

Blatter yesterday also expressed his disappointment that France had withdrawn from the Confederations Cup - scheduled to take place in Mexico from 8- 20 January - but said the event may now be moved to encourage their participation.

"When a federation like France, Fifa founders and world champions, make the commitment and then pull out because of internal pressure two months from the competition, I find that disappointing," Blatter said. The French withdrew because European clubs refused to release their French internationals for the event.

The tournament could now start in late July thus allowing the French to field a full-strength side. A final decision will be made later this month, Blatter said. The other countries due to take part are Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Bolivia, Egypt, Brazil, New Zealand and the United States.

Meanwhile yesterday Blatter met with Pele, Bobby Charlton, Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini for discussions on a new panel to address "fundamental issues facing the game."

The four will be members of the Fifa Football Committee, which will be chaired by the Spanish Football Federation president, Angel Maria Villar. It should be formally set up in December and will also include current players, referees, coaches, managers and doctors. It will not discuss the laws of the game but will concentrate on "the future welfare of the game in more general terms."

Liverpool cup preview, page 28

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£85 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education require a ...

SEN Teacher - Hull

Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for spe...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking EY...

Primary Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: NEWLY QUALIFIED TEACHER WE CAN HELP ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor