Platini says England could lose WC 2018 bid to less wealthy nations

Friday, September 3, 2010

LONDON - UEFA president and former French football star Michel Platini has warned England that its bid for hosting the 2018 World Cup could go up in smoke, given FIFA’s habit of choosing less wealthy nations as hosts.

Platini said that he is confident the USA will withdraw from the race to concentrate on 2022, leaving a straight European fight between Russia, Belgium/Holland, Spain/Portugal and England.

“I’m 90 per cent confident USA will withdraw, ensuring a European host for 2018, which is my objective,” the Daily Express quoted Platini, as saying.

“However, there is a tendency [with both FIFA and UEFA] to elect less wealthy countries, to enable them to improve their facilities. And why not? It’s easier to opt for a strong country such as Germany, but if you don’t go to some other countries, they may decline. Yet that decision is not so easy - they may promise more than they can deliver. It’s up to us,” he added.

England remain optimistic FIFA’s inspection committee will rate them top of a ranking list of the nine candidates for the double appointment in December.

Andy Anson, chief executive of the bid, said: “We know now we’re in a real race. We’ll circle the world twice in the next three months trying to win minds.” (ANI)

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