England plan 2018 World Cup bid

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The Fifa vice-president, David Will, yesterday gave his support to a potential England World Cup bid claiming they would have a "very strong" chance of hosting the tournament.

The Fifa vice-president, David Will, yesterday gave his support to a potential England World Cup bid claiming they would have a "very strong" chance of hosting the tournament.

The ground is being prepared for England to launch a campaign to stage the tournament in 2018, when it is expected to return to Europe. Will, one of the 24-man Fifa executive committee which decides on World Cup hosts, says an England bid would have more chance than when they applied to host the 2006 tournament but got just two votes.

Will said: "I would think England would have a very strong bid. The English bid for 2006 was much stronger than it appeared... but so much has changed since then anyway." Will said there was a "strong likelihood" that the 2018 tournament would be in Europe.

Talks took place this week involving ministers and UK Sport. The Football Association has also been consulted. The Government will wait until the outcome of the London 2012 Olympic bid but a campaign looks likely.

Sports minister Richard Caborn said: "We have had discussions this week about whether we should throw our hat into the ring, and talked very seriously about it. There are tactical points to consider. We don't want to dilute the potency of our bid for 2012."

An FA spokesman said: "We have shown in the past that we can host major events with Euro 96 being an outstanding example."

UK Sport is developing a strategy on bidding for "mega-events" up to 2022. John Scott, director of international relations and major events, said a World Cup bid would not be determined by the success or failure of the Olympic campaign.

However he stressed: "If we are going to be the Olympic host there is a huge responsibility in terms of test events and that could have an impact on the timing of bidding for other big events.

"If we do stage the Olympics, the partnership between the home countries in the Olympic football tournament could transform thinking about a World Cup in England and other parts of the UK. There have not been any talks about this but with grounds such as Hampden Park in Glasgow and the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff it would be silly not to look at it, especially as Fifa do not seem to see the home nations as such a big issue now."

Comments