Football: World Cup bid backed

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The Independent Online
English footballers have long been known for their industry but industry, until recently, had never expressed any reciprocal affection for the game. In the heady post-Euro 96 world all that has changed and England's World Cup 2006 bid enters a new phase this week with the blessing of business behind it.

That emerged from a meeting involving 20 industrialists held last week. Chaired by Sir Colin Marshall, president of the Confederation of British Industry and chairman of British Airways, the meeting pledged support in cash, kind and goodwill.

Goodwill means making English businessmen unofficial ambassadors of the bid. More practical help involves, for example, free flights from BA and there will also be some direct financial assistance which should take the Football Association's "war chest" past the pounds 10m mark.

England are one of several candidates, notably South Africa and Germany, for Fifa to choose from in 2000.

- Glenn Moore