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Britain backs England World Cup bid with guarantees

15 December 2009 16:20

LONDON (AFP) - The British government confirmed Tuesday that it had signed off on financial guarantees of 300 million pounds (487 million dollars) required for FIFA to accept England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe also confirmed that other requisite commitments regarding security, visas and tax had been made, ahead of the May deadline set by world football's governing body.

Sutcliffe said the move reflected the government's desire to see the bid succeed -- which had been questioned following a decision to provide only loan rather than grant finance for the bid itself.

"The Government is completely behind England's bid to host the World Cup and getting these guarantees signed off well in advance underlines that continuing commitment, as does the availability of a loan to support the bid itself," Sutcliffe said.

"A World Cup in England would be a fantastic event embraced by football fans from across the globe. We would deliver a superb legacy from the tournament to football worldwide.

"It would, of course, also bring huge economic benefits to this country."

England 2018 is due to announce on Wednesday which cities will be put forward as potential match hosts as part of the bid.

FIFA will decide on the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December of next year. England is the favourite for the 2018 tournament but faces competition from Australia, Indonesia, Japan and Russia as well as from joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands and Spain and Portugal.

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