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England bid has the big mo


Reports from Zurich suggest that the England bid for the 2018 World Cup is gathering momentum at just the right time, the last lap.  But will it be enough to carry the bid across the finishing line?  We will know this afternoon.

This report assesses the chances and suggests that the bid from Spain and Portugal may be undermined by the fact that it is split between two countries.  However, I do not think that is a major consideration.   The World Cup jointly hosted by Korea and Japan worked well: those English fans who went were delighted with their welcome.

The Times published a picture yesterday of David Beckham, David Cameron and HRH Prince William which was a classic of frozen body language.  However, one must give them some credit for trying.   There are those who find this kind of lobbying sordid, but it is essential to success in a competition of this kind.

It has been suggested that the crowd trouble at St. Andrews last night will derail England's bid at the last minute but I do not think this is very likely.   I sit on the committee of an international organisation which has to choose between rival bids to stage events and by this stage one's mind is almost made up.   Even so, personal lobbying by a distinguished figure could just make the difference: this certainly  happened with the Olympics.

The economic costs and benefits of staging the World Cup are always open to question for a number of reasons, some of them quite technical.   'Legacy' stadiums can be a headache as well as a benefit.  However, staging such an event does usually provide a significant economic stimulus.   Costs may arise from people being off work, but these may to some extent be offset by productivity gains.