Brown faces storm over 2018 World Cup bid

Gordon Brown has said he will support an English World Cup bid
Gordon Brown has said he will support an English World Cup bid

Gordon Brown has re-opened fresh wounds by declaring his support for an English bid for the 2018 World Cup.

The chancellor, and favourite to become the next prime minister, got into trouble last summer after announcing he would be supporting England at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

And the news he is backing an English bid to host the 2018 World Cup has provoked more controversy north of the border.

"If England wants to host the World Cup, then great. But if Scotland and Ireland could hold a joint bid for Euro 2008, why not have a joint Scotland-England bid for the 2018 World Cup?" asked SNP culture spokesman Stewart Maxwell.

"The chancellor has made no attempt to support the European football championships coming to Scotland."

The news Mr Brown, who is honorary president of Scottish football club Raith Rovers, is backing an English World Cup bid comes at the launch of a new 50-page feasibility study into hosting the World Cup.

The report finds England is well ahead of where Germany was when it successfully bid for the 2006 tournament.

"England is the right place to host it," Mr Brown said.

"By 2018, it will be more than 50 years since the World Cup was held in England, and Germany has hosted it twice since then. We can offer some of the best facilities in the world."

The World Cup typically moves from continent to continent.

With South Africa set to host the tournament in 2010, and Brazil favourites to win the rights to host the 2014 event, 2018 is likely to be the earliest a European nation can realistically win the right to host the World Cup.

Mr Brown said combining the 2012 Olympics with the 2018 World Cup could see the next decade as "probably the greatest in Britain's sporting history".

"The futures of young people in Britain will be enhanced by what we do," the chancellor said. "A bid would be a commitment to the young people of our country and a sign that we will continue to invest in their futures."

The chancellor is likely to be installed in No 10 and facing re-election in 2010, when the Football Association has to submit its bid.

After backing England in the World Cup, Mr Brown drew criticism from Scotland.

SNP leader Alex Salmond said at the time: "[Mr Brown] has learned the songs of the barmy army almost off by heart.

"The chancellor may have been born Scottish but he is desperate to become an Englishman."


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