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Prince William pledges extraordinary World Cup

Prince William promised an extraordinary 2018 World Cup as he joined the final presentation of England's bid today.



And he slipped in a joke about his wedding next year as he told executives from football's world governing body Fifa why they should choose the English bid.

The prince said: "I know that we can deliver extraordinary public occasions and celebrations.

"I certainly hope so as I'm planning quite a big one myself next year."

William, who is president of the Football Association, took the floor in Zurich as part of England's final presentation team.

The 28-year-old, who will marry Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29, told Fifa chiefs: "The English love football.

"That's why it would be such an honour for us to host the 2018 World Cup.

"But it's not just about us.

"I give you an assurance that England is committed to playing its full and proper role in developing football internationally as a member of your global footballing family."

In his speech, David Cameron promised England would lay on "the most spectacular World Cup in history".

He said fans from all over the world would feel at home in England's diverse cities.

He pointed out that many of the world's biggest stars play in the English Premier League, which is watched all over the world.

He promised Fifa executives that an English tournament would not just be a commercial success but a "global event".

And he added: "We have the expertise, we have the stadiums, we have the fans. We have what it takes."

The Premier added that football fans would "really feel at home" if the World Cup was in England.

He said: "Think of any nationality, any religion, and background and I bet you we have got that community right there in England.

"So we can provide a home crowd for every team, and more to the point, every fan in every one of our cities will really feel at home."

The nation's case was opened by Eddie Afekafe, a bid ambassador who works with Manchester City on community football programmes.

Mr Afekafe told the 22-man executive committee that football had turned his life around.

Four years ago he was unemployed with friends in gangs and prison.

"What I got, what they didn't get, was an opportunity," he said.

"And that opportunity came through football."

He promised an England selection would "change the lives of millions of people like me".

Prince William, 28, said: "What Eddie represents is a credit to Fifa because it's your game that transformed his life.

"England 2018 and Fifa together have the opportunity to create thousands of more opportunities for people like Eddie.

"It's a supremely powerful force for binding people together."

Fifa executives will begin casting their votes this afternoon.

Holland and Belgium kicked off the 2018 World Cup presentations by telling Fifa members that "small is beautiful" and theirs was the "fun bid".

Bid president Ruud Gullit, the former Chelsea player and manager, said: "We have a great offer. It's a safe choice in every aspect.

"We are a compact bid and our limited size is our real strength, it makes it easy for players, officials and, of course, the fans.

Spain and Portugal packed their presentation with serious political messages.

Spain's president Jose Luis Zapatero stressed the countries' infrastructure.

"Spain is the country with the broadest network of high-speed trains in Europe," he said.

"We have 50 airports in Iberia, Spain and Portugal is also the most visited destination worldwide, 70 million tourists a year - that's an example of our hotel power and our ability to host."

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