Downpour rains on Australia World Cup parade

SYDNEY, Oct 10 (Reuters) - A massive picnic held on Sydney's iconic harbour bridge to help push Australia's bid for the 2022 World Cup on Sunday was hit by an untimely downpour, causing hundreds of participants to run for cover.

Picnic-goers had queued patiently for a 06:30 start (19:30 GMT) to 'Breakfast on the Bridge', an event linked to a food festival that was expected to attract some 6,000 people.

Many brought rain-proof ponchos with their croissants and champagne but a sustained deluge less than an hour into the event proved too much of a dampener for many.

"We just had a little downpour," laughed a media spokesman linked to the event. "A few people left... Now there's hardly a cloud in the sky, would you believe?"

Football Federation Australia (FFA), which sponsored the event and laid down 11,000 square metres of real grass along the bridge, brought national team players and rolled a four-metre ball through the sodden picnic to promote Australia's bid.

"Breakfast on the Bridge is a wonderful example of what Sydney and our nation has to offer - just look at this magnificent harbour landscape. It is picture perfect," FFA Chairman Frank Lowy said, despite the weather.

Australia has promised to spend A$2.8 billion to build and renovate stadiums and infrastructure in its bid for the 2022 World Cup.