#1
Britain's Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has hailed England's 2018 World Cup bid as "unbeatable."

Clegg, standing in for PM David Cameron and who now faces an extra two weeks at the helm after Cameron's wife yesterday gave birth to a girl whilst the couple were on holiday in Cornwall, met a FIFA delegation at Downing Street on Monday as they started a four day tour of England as part of their assessment for the country's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. England is bidding to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, but England is focused mainly on the 2018 tournament.

Standing in front of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I at Downing Street, the Deputy PM told the visit FIFA delegates: "I believe this is an exceptionally strong, unbeatable bid. We in this government believe in it, we hope that you will believe in it."

England's bid has also got the support of Manchester United manager Sir Alex ferguson - a Scot. Also backing it is the organiser of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

England are the favourites to win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup, but will face stiff competition from Russia, which has never hosted the tournament before. Also bidding are joint bids from Spain/Portugal, Holland/Belgium and a bid from the USA.

The six-man Fifa team, led by the president of the Chilean football federation Harold Mayne-Nicholls, travelled from Downing Street to Wembley Stadium by tube where they inspected the facilities and met England manager Fabio Capello on the pitch. The 90,000 capacity stadium, who rebuilding was completed in 2007, will host the opening match and the final of the 2018 World Cup should England host the tournament.

The visiting FIFA delegration had only just started their four day tour of England to some of the stadia that may host matches should England's bid be successful when England received praised from FIFA boss Sepp Blatter.

England is unique amongst the bidding nations in that it doesn't have to build new stadia and infrastructure to host the tournament. All that is already in place. Blatter Said "The easiest way to organise the World Cup is to go to England. Everything is there - fans, stadiums, infrastructure."

Since Monday, the delegates have also been visiting other stadia that have been chosen as potential vebues for 2018 World Cup matches, including Manchester United's Old Trafford, Manchester City's Eastlands and Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

The party will fly over a number of proposed 2018 venues including the new Olympic Stadium in London, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, White Hart Lane, Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes, Nottingham Forest's City Ground and Elland Road in Leeds.

England last hosted the World Cup in 1966. The winning bid for the 2018 World Cup - the 21st tournament - will be announced in December.

If England win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup, it'll be an amazing sporting decade for England, because it is also hosting this season's Champions League Final, the 2012 Olympics, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup, and the 2019 Cricket World Cup. It is also considering hosting Super Bowl XLIX in London in 2015, and Superbowl LI in 2017. In Scotland, Glasgow is hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.


Nick Clegg hails England's 'unbeatable' World Cup bid

Monday, 23 August 2010
BBC Sport


Sir Winston Churchill supports England's 2018 World Cup bid


(Left) The logo of the 2018 World Cup should England win the bid and (right) England Three Lions crest

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has told Fifa inspectors England's bid for the 2018 World Cup is "unbeatable".

The Fifa delegation, which will write a report on England's bid to host the World Cup, began its four-day visit with a reception at Downing Street.

Clegg said: "I believe this is an exceptionally strong, unbeatable bid. We in this government believe in it, we hope that you will believe in it."



Deputy PM Nick Clegg exchages pendants with chief inspector Harold Mayne-Nicholls at Downing Street


England face stiff competition in the battle to stage football's premier tournament in eight years' time, with Russia considered to be among the strongest rivals.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is not part of the visiting bid delegation and although he admitted from Singapore that England would represent the "easiest" option, he also said Russia would be a powerful contender.

Blatter said: "The easiest way to organise the World Cup is to go to England. Everything is there - fans, stadiums, infrastructure."


England manager Fabio Capello shows the FIFA inspectors around Wembley

If England win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup, it'll be an amazing sporting decade for England, because it is also hosting this season's Champions League Final, the 2012 Olympics, the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the 2015 Rugby Union World Cup, and the 2019 Cricket World Cup. It is also considering hosting Super Bowl XLIX in London in 2015 and Superbowl LI in 2017. In Scotland, Glasgow is hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

But he added: "You cannot deny Russia if they bid for something. They are more than a country. They are a big continent, a big power."

The six-man Fifa team, led by the president of the Chilean football federation Harold Mayne-Nicholls, travelled from Downing Street to Wembley Stadium by tube where they inspected the facilities and met England manager Fabio Capello on the pitch.

On Tuesday morning, the inspectors are due to have several presentations followed by a boat journey along the River Thames.


World freestyle champion John Farnworth exhibits his skills as the FIFA inspection team cruise eastwards down the Thames

The party will fly over a number of proposed 2018 venues including the new Olympic Stadium, Arsenal's Emirates Stadium, White Hart Lane, Stadium:MK in Milton Keynes, Nottingham Forest's City Ground and Elland Road in Leeds.

They are due to arrive in the north east for more presentations in the afternoon before visits to Sunderland and Newcastle.

On Wednesday, the focus moves to Manchester where Old Trafford and the City of Manchester Stadium will be in the spotlight. The visit concludes on Thursday.

"The easiest way to organise the World Cup is to go to England. Everything is there - fans, stadiums, infrastructure."

FIFA president Sepp Blatter praises England's 2018 World Cup bid

Clegg, who was joined by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Sports Minister Hugh Robertson when he greeted the delegation at Number 10, believes Fifa will be won over by the size of the support for the English bid.



"The excitement and passion behind this bid is huge," said Clegg. "It will inspire people in towns and cities across the country.

"There are few nations that can claim the passion we in England have for football.

"Our job is to show you we already have the infrastructure and facilities to host a World Cup."


Fifa's inspection team, which also included South Africa's World Cup organising chief Danny Jordaan, were in England after previously travelling to Russia to witness their rival World Cup bid.

With trips to 2022 hopefuls Japan, South Korea and Australia completed, Fifa will spend a total of four days in England before moving on to look at the facilities of the joint Spain-Portugal bid and then the United States and Qatar in September.


The Thames would be used as the site for a 3D holographic image of a penalty shoot-out if England win the bid in December

Fifa bid inspection leader Mayne-Nicholls said: "We believe that only with the support of the governments can we keep taking the game to all of the places in the world.

"We will ask all the doubts we have, we have been studying the bids and we will work with the local organising committees before writing a very fair report to take back to Fifa headquarters.

"We will do our best to write an objective report."

England 2018 bid chief executive Andy Anson said: "Just like Fifa, we believe in the power of football to open up new territories.


Danny Jordaan (left), who was chief executive of the organising committee for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, is shown round London's O2 Arena by England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson.

"Our new territory extends beyond any national boundary and directly benefits every country - each of Fifa's 208 member associations.

"A tournament in England will deliver a global legacy that will produce greater football and social benefits for more people than ever before."

"We will show that a Fifa World Cup in England is not just about what it can do for England, but about what a Fifa World Cup in England can do for the rest of the world."


Sunderland chairman and former Republic of Ireland star Niall Quinn is on hand to extol the strengths of the city of Sunderland and the Stadium of Light, a proposed venue for the 2018 World Cup should England host the tournament.

Anson also disclosed that Prime Minister David Cameron, currently on holiday in Cornwall, would be hosting a visit by Fifa president Sepp Blatter in the autumn.

He added: "All candidate host cities have a valuable part to play during this week and they have all been exceptionally supportive and co-operative during our planning.

"We believe our bid book reflects a strong proposal to Fifa from a country that can deliver on facilities, commercial opportunities and general infrastructure, for the overall benefit of the tournament, its players and officials and the fans.


The FIFA delegation are shown around Manchester City's Eastlands stadium, another proposed venue for the 2018 World Cup

"England's bid is based around stadiums and facilities that are already in place and already being used on a regular basis and so there is minimal construction and planning required."

Meanwhile, sports minister Mr Robertson told BBC Radio 5 live: "There is a fantastically exciting period in front of us.

"We really want to win this 2018 World Cup bid, it would be fantastic for football in this country.


During the visit to Old Trafford, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson - who has put his weight behind supporting the bid despite being a Scot - showed a typically strict piece of time-keeping

"I think we have got a really good offer to take out to Fifa and we are all determined to do everything possible to bring this home.

"The great thing about our bid is all the infrastructure is there, it's all ready. You could technically hold the World Cup here tomorrow."

England have a number of official ambassadors backing their campaign including England players David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand, 2008 Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton, and musicians Noel Gallagher and Sting.

news.bbc.co.uk/sport
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 25th, 2010 at 02:01 PM..