Prince William leads final World Cup bid presentation

Prince William today led England's 2018 World Cup presentation to FIFA by telling members: "I love football, we English love football and it would be an honour for us to host the World Cup."

The prince, who was applauded by the 22-man executive committee before the presentation also stressed that England were committed to developing football internationally.

The presentation opened with Eddie Afekafe, a bid ambassador who works with Manchester City on their community programmes, explaining how football had changed his life.

William built on that, saying: "What Eddie represents is a credit to FIFA because it's your game that transformed his life.

"England 2018 and FIFA together have the opportunity to create thousands of more opportunities for people like Eddie.

"It's a supremely powerful force for binding people together.

"I love football, we English love football - that's why it would be such an honour for us to host the 2018 World Cup.

"I also give you an assurance that England is committed to developing football internationally as a member of your football family."

William also referred to his forthcoming marriage to Kate Middleton, saying: "We can deliver extraordinary public occasions - I certainly hope as I'm planning quite a big one myself next year.

"It will be truly a FIFA World Cup for the world."

In a presentation described by FIFA president Sepp Blatter as "excellent and remarkable", Beckham drew on memories of his grandad Joe who died a year ago today, just before he took part in the South African World Cup draw in Cape Town.

Beckham said: "My life in football began with my grandad Joe. I've played on every continent and I'm proud to have been part of the success that English football has enjoyed over the past 20 years.

"I could never have imagined that FIFA would have invited me to take part in the World Cup draw. A year ago today my grandad died, the day before the draw. Now I want to do something that will make my grandad proud.

"Now I want to do more. That's why I am here and why everyone from the Prime Minister to Prince William to Eddie is here today. The benefits will be felt over generations and your vote can make this happen.

"To create a better future for our grandchildren and many millions more, just imagine what we can achieve together.

"Our dream is to stage a World Cup that benefits billions, that makes you, your grandchildren and everyone in football truly proud."

Earlier, the Prince had been followed by Prime Minister David Cameron, who highlighted the Government's support and a commercial success for the tournament.

Cameron said: "We want to convince you of one thing only today, that we have the passion and the expertise to put on what we believe would be the most spectacular World Cup in history. There is the most incredible support for the World Cup back in England.

"The future King of England is right behind it, every club from the highest Premier League club to the lowest village team is backing this bid."

Cameron said England's bid would deliver for players, fans and FIFA.

"The players know they would be training in some of the best facilities available anywhere in the world and playing in stadiums that are some of the best world, always packed to the rafters.

"The fans would be safe as we have some the finest police in the world, we have great transport links between our cities, and most of all they will feel at home in England. Any nationality, any religion, any background and I can bet you we have these communities in England."

He finished: "Just imagine what a World Cup in England could be like - every day would be a beautiful day."

Afekafe had opened the presentation in a powerful performance by telling the FIFA members how football had "changed my life".

He said: "I grew up in one of the roughest parts of Manchester, most of the guys I grew up with were in gangs - some still are, some are in prison.

"What they didn't get but I got was an opportunity - and that was through football."

Blatter had given England's bid delegation a warm welcome, saying: "It's a privilege of FIFA to have Prince William of Wales here, but he's also the president of the FA and therefore a colleague of the 207 presidents of the other associations of FIFA."

Russia also staged an impressive bid with their FIFA member Vitaly Mutko pointing out that eastern Europe has never hosted the World Cup.

Mutko said: "Twenty one years ago the Berlin Wall was broken. Today we can break another symbolic wall and open a new era in football together.

"Russia represents new horizons for FIFA, millions of new hearts and minds and a great legacy after the World Cup, great new stadiums and millions of boys and girls embracing the game.

"Russia's economy is large and growing, and Russia's sports market is developing markedly."

Bid chief executive Alexei Sorokin even quoted Winston Churchill's remark of Russia being "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

Sorokin said: "To some extent I can understand this perception as we are a bridge between the eastern and western world.

"I can also tell you the Russia to which Sir Winston referred is a Russia that no longer exists. A new Russia is looking forward to harnessing the power of world football to move it forward.

"This could be a game-changer for Russia and for FIFA."

The presentation was concluded by deputy prime minister Igor Shuvalov who returned to the theme of taking the World Cup to a new territory.

Shuvalov said: "We deserve it, we represent part of the world which has never hosted the World Cup - with the former Soviet republics we represent 200million people.

"The World Cup will help Russia to overcome all the tragic days and tragic history we had in the last century.

"Choosing Russia you have no risk at all - we are very stable and financially we have huge reserves.

"But our major wealth is not oil and gas - our people are our most important wealth and if you let us host the World Cup we will do that in a manner you have never had in your history."

"Let us make history together."

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