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Clegg backs England 'bid passion'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has highlighted England's "passion" for football as he met the Fifa team inspecting the country's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Welcoming the team to Downing Street Mr Clegg emphasised the coalition Government's commitment to the bid.

Mr Clegg told the delegation: "I believe this is an exceptionally strong, unbeatable bid. We in this Government believe in it, we hope that you will believe in it."

Mr Clegg said the coalition fully backed commitments to the bid made by the previous Labour government.

He told the inspection team: "Our job during your visit is to show you that we already have the infrastructure and facilities to host a fantastic World Cup.

"I'm an MP from a city, Sheffield, which is one of the many cities hoping to host some games during the World Cup and I know from that city that the excitement and the passion which is behind this bid really is very considerable."

He said the competition would have the power to "inspire so many people" across England.

"I think there really are very few nations that can claim the same passion that we have in England for the game of football," he said.

Mr Clegg welcomed the international delegation to No 10 because Prime Minister David Cameron is on holiday.

But Downing Street rejected suggestions that David Cameron should have broken off his family holiday to meet the Fifa team.

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