Government sign World Cup agreements

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The Independent Football

The Government have signed financial guarantees of £300m for England's 2018 World Cup bid and made other commitments regarding security, visas and tax.

The guarantees required by FIFA have been signed off several months ahead of the May deadline, sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced today.

All bidding nations have to sign up to deliver a number of guarantees and England's have been signed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other ministers from relevant departments.

Sutcliffe said: "I am delighted that we have already got to this point following a huge effort from across Whitehall.

"The Government is completely behind England's bid to host the World Cup and getting these guarantees signed off well in advance underlines that continuing commitment, as does the availability of a loan to support the bid itself.

"A World Cup in England would be a fantastic event embraced by football fans from across the globe. We would deliver a superb legacy from the tournament to football worldwide.

"It would, of course, also bring huge economic benefits to this country."

England bid chairman Lord Triesman said it would be impossible to host the tournament without such commitments.

He said: "The signing of the guarantees months in advance of the May 2010 deadline is a testament to the Government's commitment to bringing the World Cup to England, in particular the sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe and his officials who have worked very hard to secure them so early.

"The guarantees underpin around £300million worth of financial commitment without which it would be impossible to host the tournament.

"This again demonstrates England's desire as a whole to meet and exceed FIFA's requirements and guarantees FIFA the most secure environment possible for the world's biggest sporting event in terms of security, financial, legal and commercial partner delivery."

England 2018 will tomorrow announce which of the 15 cities will be part of their bid. Around 12 cities containing up to 18 stadiums are expected to be named.

The cities in contention are: Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle/Gateshead, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield and Sunderland.

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