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Sunday, January 28, 2007
Beckenbauer: England is 'perfect' for World Cup

German legend Franz Beckenbauer has backed England as the 'perfect country' to host the 2018 World Cup.

Beckenbauer, who oversaw the successful German bid for the 2006 competition and was president of the tournament's organising committee, believes there are no viable alternatives.

The 61-year-old, who has recently been voted on to the powerful FIFA executive committee as a UEFA representative, insists England has everything necessary to make the 2018 competition a huge success.

He told the News of the World: 'I am 100 per cent behind any English bid.

'England has everything - the best stadiums, the best crowds, the infrastructure. It's a perfect country to host the World Cup.'

The competition looks certain to be held in Europe under FIFA's rotation system which sees the 2010 tournament held in South Africa and the 2014 event going to South America.

That narrows the competition significantly, and Beckenbauer feels that England, who hosted the tournament in 1966. is best option despite their unsuccessful bid for last summer's World Cup.

'The only country I see with an obvious chance is England. Who else can bid from Europe? France has already staged it in 1998 and Italy do not have the infrastructure.

'England competed with us [the 2006 German bid] and lost, but they always have confidence.'

The British government would throw their full support behind any application and FIFA president Sepp Blatter has already been invited to England for initial discussions with Sports Minister Richard Caborn and Gordon Brown.

Caborn said: 'The FA can count on commitment from the government and that is something we shall be impressing on Sepp Blatter . We have invited him to Number 11 [Downing Street] and he has agreed to a meeting on February 28.

'This will be a great opportunity for a proper dialogue with the main decision-makers in football.

'I am aware of the Treasury's feasibility study on the World Cup and when it is published it will be a positive step towards bringing the World Cup here.'




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