Germany dismiss idea of joint bid

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The Independent Online
England and Germany are back in competition for the right to stage the 2006 World Cup after both sides reiterated their intention to go it alone yesterday.

Reports that Egidius Braun, the president of the German Football Association, had mooted the possibility of a joint bid by the two on Sunday were deemed to be the result of interpretation problems by officials in Frankfurt.

Alec McGivan, in charge of England's bid, also remained insistent that the idea of a joint initiative looked a non-starter after Fifa, the world governing body, announced they would dismiss such a proposal.

"Our position remains unchanged because we still feel that England has a very strong case for staging the 2006 finals and we already have a lot of support from around the world," McGivan said.

Braun's remarks on German television were misconstrued to indicate that the two poles of thought over the rival European bids were now coming together. A spokesman for the German FA said yesterday: "Our president never spoke about a joint bid and it was all a case of misinterpretation.

"During the programme, in which he was talking about the German bid alone, Mr Braun talked about having a split European bid rather than a single bid from Germany. What he meant was that two bids would come from Europe - one from us and one from England, but his comments lost something in the translation to make it seem that he was calling for a joint bid. That is not the case."

The finals will be shared for the first time when Japan and Korea co- host the event in 2002, but Fifa insists this will be a "one-off" arrangement with an immediate switch back to the traditional single-country format thereafter.

The world governing body's stance did not surprise the FA, but McGivan believes that the idea of a joint bid will almost certainly rear its head again before the outcome is announced in June 2000.

The row over the 2006 finals broke out earlier this month when Uefa announced it was backing Germany's bid and claimed to be unaware of England's rival stance. Since then, England have at least won a concession from the sport's European governing body that it will examine both countries' cases. Both will push their claims when Uefa's executive committee meets on 17 April, with Uefa declaring that it will only support one bid.

But with South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt and Morocco also expected to submit bids before the Fifa-imposed deadline in 1999, it is not even certain if Europe will actually be given the finals.