Blatter fuels hope of England bid for 2018 World Cup

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The Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, yesterday opened the way for England to bid for the 2018 World Cup after he told the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, he expects the tournament's rotation to be scrapped next week.

Blatter met Brown in Downing Street yesterday afternoon with an England bid for the 2018 finals top of the agenda. The Prime Minister asked whether Fifa would end rotation of the finals between different continents. Blatter said that he expected the world governing body would change the system so that any country apart from those in the continent hosting the previous World Cup – i.e. South America, as Brazil are 2014 hosts – could bid. Brown told Blatter the time was right for England to host the World Cup again.

Fifa's executive committee will make the final decision in Zurich on Tuesday but is likely to rubber-stamp Blatter's proposal. It would mean England going up against China, Russia, Australia, the Benelux countries, the United States and Mexico.

Blatter said: "Gordon Brown has asked that we shall take a decision that the FA will be able to bid for the 2018 World Cup. It's an item we will be discussing in Zurich, on how the World Cup is to be presented to the world. The most important thing is that the British government will support our "Football for Hope" programme in Africa."

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