2018 bid visit continues

FIFA's six-man team inspecting England's 2018 World Cup bid will head for the north-east today after a helicopter ride over a number of proposed venues for the tournament.

The inspectors were due to have several presentations in London this morning followed by a boat journey along the River Thames.

The party will fly over a number of proposed stadiums for 2018 including the new Olympic Stadium, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, White Hart Lane, Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes, Nottingham Forest's City Ground and Elland Road in Leeds.

They will arrive in the north-east for more presentations in the afternoon before visits to the Stadium of Light and St James' Park on Wednesday.

The delegation kicked off their visit yesterday with a Downing Street reception where the deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called the World Cup bid "unbeatable".

They then went by tube on the Jubilee Line to Wembley Stadium to inspect the venue and meet England head coach Fabio Capello.

Clegg told the delegation: "I believe this is an exceptionally strong, unbeatable bid. We in this Government believe in it, we hope that you will believe in it."

England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson also made a speech of greeting where, perhaps mindful of rivals Russia's stress on bringing the World Cup to a new country, spoke of how England hosting the 2018 tournament would benefit the world.

Anson said: "Just like FIFA, we believe in the power of football to open up new territories.

"Our new territory extends beyond any national boundary and directly benefits every country - each of FIFA's 208 member associations.

"A tournament in England will deliver a global legacy that will produce greater football and social benefits for more people than ever before."

And with a nod to John F Kennedy's inaugural presidential speech Anson added: "We will show that a FIFA World Cup in England is not just about what it can do for England, but about what a FIFA World Cup in England can do for the rest of the world."

The FIFA team will head to Manchester on Wednesday afternoon, where they will finish their tour on Thursday.

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