England 2018 bid boost

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England's bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup has received a boost as the UK government confirmed it is backing the campaign with a £2.5m loan. The move comes days after ministers signed off £300m of financial guarantees for the bid. It will help fund the Football Association's drive to persuade FIFA to give the tournament to England when the sport's governing body meets in December 2010.

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe said that the money will be paid back – along with a share of the profits from the tournament if England's bid wins – to support grassroots sport. Sutcliffe, who sits on the 2018 World Cup Advisory Group, said: "We are very pleased to confirm that, on top of the support we have already given by signing off guarantees worth around £300m, we have agreed to lend England 2018 £2. 5m, to help the campaign team make the case for a fantastic World Cup in England in 2018. "Liverpool has been included as a host city for England's 2018 FIFA World Cup bid despite uncertainty over the proposed new Anfield stadium but Hull, Derby and Leicester have missed out. Twelve cities and up to 17 potential venues have been selected by England 2018 including Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Nottingham and Bristol, which are all home to clubs outside the Premier League and would require major stadium construction work. England 2018 deputy chairman Lord Mawhinney, who headed the selection panel, said: "It would have been very hard to envisage an impressive World Cup bid with host cities that did not include iconic Liverpool. "He added: "England's fortunate to have so many good stadia and I would like to congratulate all of the applicant host cities for the seven months of really hard work they have put in. We have chosen cities which present the lowest possible risk to FIFA and it's FIFA who will make the final decision. There will also be a lot of disappointed football fans around the country I understand that – and if I was a fan of theirs I would be just as disappointed. " Stadia to have missed out on selection included Pride Park in Derby, the Walkers (sponsor) Stadium in Leicester, the KC (sponsor) Stadium in Hull and Sheffield United's Bramall Lane. Outside of London, Manchester was the only city to have two stadia included – Old Trafford and the City of Manchester Stadium. In London, Wembley and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium have both been chosen as has a third venue from either the new White Hart Lane or the Olympic Stadium. Mawhinney added: "With the new White Hart Lane or the Olympic Stadium we ran up against a problem where other people's timetable didn't quite mesh with ours. We have seen pictures of the new iconic White Hart Lane stadium and it's going to be very splendid but at the moment it's at the planning point. As far as the Olympic Stadium is concerned there's a debate going on about it and we are not in charge of that debate – there are some that think it should continue to be an 80, 000–seater stadium and other voices saying the stadium should be reduced to 25, 000. "England 2018 chief Andy Anson believes the host stadia chosen to be part of the campaign are of such high quality that they will not suffer the same devastating verdict from FIFA inspectors that holed the 2006 bid. When England was competing to stage the 2006 tournament, the FIFA inspection rated the facilities below those of both Germany and South Africa. That helped torpedo a bid already suffering from a dispute with UEFA, but Anson, bid chief executive, is confident that will not happen again when FIFA's inspectors arrive in August to consider the 12 cities and 17 possible stadia. Anson said: "If you look down the whole list so many changes have happened since then, and our stadia have moved on a whole level so I'm confident we will have a very successful inspection. It will be hard for anyone else to match the mixture and depth of quality. "Each of the 12 cities will have to contribute £250, 000 to the cost of the bid whether or not England are successful in the FIFA vote in December next year. Anson also revealed he hopes the bid will take up the offer of a £2. 5 million loan from the Government and insisted the campaign is in good financial shape. "Two or three commercial deals are almost in place, I'm more confident than ever we will have at least the £15. 5m we require and hopefully more, " he added. "I would like to take up the loan because the Government have shown fantastic commitment this week in terms of getting the guarantees signed. It's a decision for FA and bid board – it's how it's repaid and in what form that's still being discussed. "If England wins the bid – the vote is in December 2010 – then FIFA would choose 12 venues in 2013. The stadia selected are: Sunderland – Stadium of Light; London – Wembley, Emirates (sponsor) Stadium, the new White Hart Lane or Olympic Stadium; Birmingham – Villa Park; Manchester – City of Manchester Stadium and Old Trafford; Nottingham – the new Nottingham Forest stadium; Leeds – Elland Road; Sheffield – Hillsborough; Newcastle/Gateshead – St James' Park; Bristol – the new Ashton Vale stadium; Plymouth – Home Park; Manchester – Old Trafford; Liverpool – Anfield or new Anfield; Milton Keynes – Stadium MK. About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. The industry's biggest stories have an accompanying email alert, and The Sport Briefing sends subscribers a daily digest to give them an easy–to–read overview of the day's main events. 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