England bid focuses on football legacy

ZURICH - England used its final presentation on Thursday to promise FIFA a commercially successful 2018 World Cup through an initiative that would match FIFA's current spending on football development.

The money from the Football United project would be spent on developing the grass roots game around the world and leave a global legacy, bid leaders including Prime Minister David Cameron said when they addressed FIFA's executive committee members ahead of the vote.

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The presentation also concentrated on the impact football has on England's society through the story of Eddie Afekafe, whose life as a young homeless, jobless teenager in one of the roughest parts of Manchester was transformed by the sport.

In a piece of theatre, he presented the pitch, welcoming Prince William, the president of the English FA, to the stage.

Cameron emphasised political support for the bid, while England's most famous player David Beckham focused on the huge impact that English football has had around the world.

Beckham said: "Working with FIFA, the World Cup can bring so many benefits that will be felt over generations. Your vote can make this happen."

Chief executive Andy Anson promised FIFA a "unique proposal" of "Football Hosting Football" a scheme whereby England's top clubs would host the teams in 2018 providing them with the best possible facilities.

England are bidding against Russia and joint challenges from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium to stage the finals. FIFA will announce the winning bid later on Thursday.