FIFA president Sepp Blatter has declared that staging the World Cup in England would be the easiest option as the stadiums and infrastructure are already in place.
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Blatter’s comments were published on Monday 101 days before FIFA’s executive committee votes on the 2018 and ’22 hosts and as FIFA’s technical inspectors arrived in London to scrutinize England’s bid.
"The easiest way to organize the World Cup is to go to England," Blatter was quoted as telling the Inside World Football website. "Everything is there – fans, stadiums, infrastructure – it’s easy."
England is bidding to host the tournament in either 2018 or ’22.
England’s bid chief executive Andy Anson welcomed the inspectors to Downing Street by saying that they will see "existing facilities available now to stage a first-class FIFA World Cup" during their four-day visit.
"You’ll be able to see them with your own eyes – not just in your imagination," Anson said. "The combination of our passion for football, our technical excellence, our hosting experience, our established infrastructure and our commercial strength means that FIFA can be confident that we will deliver operational certainty, financial success and a fantastic tournament."
Russia, which is a growing power in football, has never hosted a major tournament and Blatter is keen to take the World Cup to new locations.
"You cannot deny Russia if they bid for something," Blatter said while at the Youth Olympics in Singapore. "They are more than a country. They are a big continent, a big power."
While Russia and England are bidding for both 2018 and ’22, it is widely expected that the former will go to Europe, which also has joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands, and Spain and Portugal.
The only non-European contender for 2018 is the United States, which is also vying for ’22 alongside Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.
None of the inspectors visiting London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sunderland this week is a member of the 24-man executive committee that votes in December.
But a poor technical report from the inspectors could derail England’s campaign – as happened 10 years ago when the 2006 bid was ranked behind Germany and South Africa in terms of their infrastructure.
"We promise you that we will do our best to have a very objective report," Mayne-Nicholls said.