Football : England still going it alone

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The Independent Online
England and Germany are still contesting the right to stage the 2006 World Cup after both sides reiterated their intention to make individual bids yesterday.

Reports that Egidius Braun, the president of DFB, the German football association, had put forward the possibility of a joint bid by the two on Sunday were, according to officials in Frankfurt, the result of interpretation problems.

Alec McGivan, who is in charge of England's bid, emphasised that the idea of a joint bid looked unrealistic after Fifa, football's world governing body, announced it would dismiss such a proposal. "Our position remains unchanged. We feel that England has a very strong case for staging the 2006 finals and we already have a lot of support from around the world," he said.

Braun's remarks had been misconstrued to indicate that the two rival European bids might merge. A spokesman for the German FA said: "Our president never spoke about a joint bid and it was all a case of misinterpretation. During the programme, in which he was talking about the German bid alone, Mr Braun talked about having a split European bid rather than a single bid from Germany. What he meant was that two bids would come from Europe - one from us and one from England, but the translation to make it seem that he was calling for a joint bid. That is not the case."

The finals will be shared for the first time when Japan and Korea co- host the event in 2002, but Fifa insists this will be a "one-off" arrangement, followed by a return to the traditional single-country format.

The row over the 2006 finals broke out earlier this month when Uefa announced it was backing Germany's bid and claimed to be unaware of England's position as a rival. Since then, England have at least won a concession from the sport's European governing body: a promise that it will examine both countries' bids.

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