Sepp Blatter hails 'excellent and remarkable' England presentation
England's campaign to host the 2018 World Cup reached its climax today with an impressive presentation that was described by FIFA president Sepp Blatter as "excellent and remarkable".
Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham all sparkled but were arguably outshone by 27-year-old Eddie Afekafe, who works on Manchester City's community programmes.
Afekafe explained how football had changed his life before introducing the prince to the 22 FIFA executive members who will vote on the hosts this afternoon.
William then said: "I love football, we English love football and it would be an honour for us to host the World Cup."
The prince also stressed that England were committed to developing football internationally.
William added: "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."
Beckham caused lumps in throats after drawing 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 Cameron, who highlighted the Government's support and a commercial success for the tournament, and said England's bid would deliver for players, fans and FIFA.
Cameron said: "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."
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