POSTED: October 8th 2009

England's 2018 World Cup bid learns Rio Olympic lessons

Gordon Brown or David Cameron: role to play in Zurich /
Gordon Brown or David Cameron: role to play in Zurich /

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

LONDON: England’s bid team, chasing host rights to the 2018 World Cup, have learned significant lessons from Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Games success. Andy Anson, England’s bid chief executive, described Rio’s success – as voted by the IOC in Copenhagen last Friday - as “a fantastic story.”

He told the Leaders In Football conference at Stamford Bridge, West London, that he had appreciated how much Rio 2016 bid success had owed to its integration of sport with every level of government – up to and including President Lula.

Anson said that, similarly, he would be very willing to have the British Prime Minister – whether currently Gordon Brown or Conservative leader David Cameron - attend the final bid presentation in Zurich in December next year.

Favourite fear

But he cautioned against suggestions that England was favourite. He said: “Everyone had assumed Chicago was the favourite but favourite is a dangerous thing to be. This 2018 process is the toughest-ever bid for major sporting event and anyone who writes that England is favourite is not doing us any favours.

"There are some great countries bidding. We have to fight really hard if we are to win it – because the World Cup is the world’s biggest sporting tournament with unique and demanding requirements which extend far beyond the stadia themselves."

Anson defended his decision not to engage in promotional activity at the LIF conference – compared with Australia which had sponsored delegate packs. He said: “We are the only bid two keynote speakers and we considered that as our significant contribution – far more than handing out plastic bags.”

He concluded: “A study has concluded that holding the 2018 finals in England would generate spending of £5bn and benefit the UK economy by £3.2bn. A World Cup in England would be remembered for many, many years – and for far more than just the action on the pitch.”

Keywords · English football · England · 2018 World Cup · 2016 Olympic Games · Rio de Janeiro · Anson · Gordon Brown · David Cameron

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