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Government to support 2018 World Cup bid

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The chancellor, and prime minister-elect, Gordon Brown, will today announce that the government is in favour of mounting a bid to host the football World Cup in 2018.

In a joint announcement with culture secretary Tessa Jowell at Wembley Stadium, Brown will unveil a government feasibility report which gives its backing to a potential bid for the World Cup.

More than a year in the making, the report will conclude that England is well-placed to bid for the tournament, which is likely to return to Europe after taking place in South Africa in 2010, and is expected to be awarded to a South American nation in 2014.

The bid would need to be submitted by the Football Association by 2010, meaning that English preparations are well ahead of schedule. Tessa Jowell said: "What Gordon Brown and I are showing today is that a World Cup bid would have unqualified Government support which was such an important part in winning an Olympic bid."

England suffered embarrassment when it failed by a distance to secure the 2006 World Cup, despite an expensive campaign. The bid team was accused of underestimating the complicated political environment which shrouds the world governing body, FIFA.

Gordon Brown said of the prospect of hosting the World Cup just six years after the Olympics: "I just see this as one of the great sporting decades in this country’s history. We can become the sporting nation of the world.

“It reinforces the image of England around the world, but also the sense that we are taking ourselves seriously as a sporting nation. I think other countries will see England as the obvious place."

At a time when the management of the Olympic budget is coming under increasing fire, the ambition to host both of the world's 'Mega' events is a brave one.

Potential venues are certainly available, however, with Wembley Stadium, the Emirates Stadium, Old Trafford all on offer, as well as Liverpool's proposed new home.

Photograph: Could a home World Cup be the answer for England's underperformance in major championships?

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The chancellor, and prime minister-elect, Gordon Brown, will today announce that the government is in favour of mounting a bid to host the football World Cup in 2018.
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