Football: South Africa first to present 2006 bid

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The Independent Online
SOUTH AFRICA will be the first of five countries to present their official bids to host the 2006 World Cup finals, according to the schedule released by Fifa, football's world governing body, yesterday.

Morocco, England, Brazil, South Africa and Germany will each have 30 minutes to hand over their bid documentation during official ceremonies, which will take place at Fifa headquarters in Zurich on the 9th and 10th of August.

South Africa, hoping to bring the World Cup finals to Africa for the first time, will be the first to present their candidature on 9 August, followed by Morocco and England. Brazil will hand over their documents the next day, followed by Germany.

"The presentation of the complete bid documentation in Fifa headquarters is always a milestone in the process of selection," said the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter. "It marks the prelude to the final stage of the award."

Once the bids are in, a delegation from Fifa will visit the five prospective finalists over the next few months inspecting facilities and existing stadiums, and conducting discussions on telecommunications, transport and security matters.

The vote to decide the site of the 2006 finals is scheduled for July 2000, four months later that originally scheduled so that all the confederations can discuss the proposals next year.

Craig Short launched a scathing attack on Everton yesterday as he prepared to complete a pounds 2m move to Blackburn Rovers. The 31-year-old defender signed a new three-year contract in May and has been shocked by Everton's willingness to sell him.

"I think Everton are just becoming a selling club now. Fair enough, they have financial problems, but they don't seem any nearer to solving them," Short said. "It might be more enjoyable playing for a club that is progressing than playing for a big club that is apparently going nowhere."

Short will have final discussions with the Blackburn manager, Brian Kidd, today and could be in their side for this afternoon's home friendly with Liverpool. "I've got a lot of time for Walter Smith, who is a good man and a good manager, but he is not getting much support," Short added. "He is having to sell players from a squad that showed a lot of spirit to avoid relegation.

The former England goalkeeper Tim Flowers was confirmed yesterday as Leicester's first signing of the summer when he moved to Filbert Street on a four-year contract for an initial fee of pounds 1.1m, after deciding to leave Blackburn following their relegation from the Premiership.

Aberdeen yesterday brought their own summer search for goalkeeping cover to a successful conclusion by signing David Preece for pounds 300,000 from Darlington.

Bradford City have agreed to sign Neil Redfearn from Charlton in a knock- down pounds 250,000 deal. Redfearn has gone down with his clubs in the last two seasons after failing to help Charlton and Barnsley stay up.

The manager, Paul Jewell, is also trying to sign a second midfield player and has made offers for Bolton's Per Frandsen and the Scottish international Colin Cameron from Hearts.

Goalscorers in Italy's Serie A will no longer be allowed to broadcast messages to the world via their vests. "From now on, undershirts will be allowed to carry sponsors' logos only," the Italian Football Federation said in a statement.

Diego Maradona would be welcome in the Falkland Islands if he is among the first group of Argentinian travellers to the South Atlantic archipelago next month, an official said.

A Falkland Islands government secretary, Russ Jarvis, denied Argentinian reports that the player would be barred from visiting because of his involvement with drugs: "There is no problem," Jarvis told a news agency. "He can enter the Falklands like any other tourist." Maradona, 39, has reportedly made several reservations on a flight from Chile to the Falklands next month.