Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Liverpool World Cup bid never in doubt

Liverpool has been included as a host city for England's 2018 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 and Bristol.

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.

“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, the Walkers Stadium, the KC Stadium, 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.

Manchester United chief executive David Gill said: “It is great news that Old Trafford is part of England's bid.

“It is the most historic of all the venues, celebrating its centenary in February 2010, and has hosted some major games in recent years. I am confident that its inclusion makes England's exceptional bid even stronger.”

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. We don't get to make that decision, that's someone else's decision.”

If England win the bid — the vote is in December next year — then FIFA would choose 12 venues in 2013.

The stadia chosen for England's 2018 World Cup bid are as follows: London (Wembley Stadium, the new White Hart Lane or Olympic Stadium and Emirates 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); Liverpool (Anfield or new Anfield); Milton Keynes (Stadium MK); Sunderland (Stadium of Light).

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