LIVERPOOL has been chosen as a Host City for England’s 2018 World Cup Bid.
The announcement made today by England 2018 bid Chairman Lord Mawhinney, at Wembley, was hailed as equal to ‘a cup victory the whole city can enjoy’.
It is estimated that if England win the rights to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a Host City can expect to benefit from a £200m boost to its economy.
Councillor Warren Bradley, Leader of Liverpool City Council who also led Liverpool’s 2018 Host City bid said: ‘’Liverpool eats, drinks and sleeps football and today’s decision is one of those happy occasions which unites us all and one which every fan - be they blue or red - can celebrate. In fact even if you don’t like football there’s still plenty to celebrate because of the huge economic boost it will bring.
‘’For a player, to be chosen to represent your country is the highest honour in football and the feeling is no different as a city. Liverpool is delighted to have made England’s World Cup bid team - it’s easily the best Christmas gift we’ll get this year - and I’d like to thank everyone who made it happen from our Premier League clubs, County FA and NWDA to our bid ambassadors and everyone who supported us.
‘’Of course, the hard work begins now but this decision has put a huge spring in our step and we will be pulling out all the stops to help England win the ultimate goal and bring the biggest sporting event to these shores in 2018.’’
Colin Hilton, Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council, added: ‘’Nothing defines our city more than our passion for the beautiful game. Liverpool is famous for staging outstanding, atmospheric football occasions and has a well deserved reputation for friendliness and generosity to visiting fans. We’ll be giving it all for England with the promise to FIFA they can expect an unforgettable World Cup here in 2018.’’
England’s decision comes just 24 hours after Liverpool’s 2018 bid team, which included Robert Elstone, Everton FC’s Chief Executive, and Christian Purslow, Liverpool FC’s Managing Director, made its final case for selection at England’s HQ.
Liverpool’s bid based on the theme of One City One Goal and presented in a 259-page document - focused on the city’s world class tourism and cultural offer, Liverpool’s intention to build new stadia and a programme to encourage more people of all abilities to either play or coach the game.
Everton and Liverpool players past and present have added their backing to the city’s bid from current captains Steven Gerrard and Phil Neville to red and blue legends such as ‘66 World Cup Winner Roger Hunt and Mexico ’86 and Italia ‘90 ace Trevor Steven.
Everton Captain Phil Neville, who has won 59 England Caps, was delighted with the announcement. He said: ‘’This is great News
for a great footballing city. But I always expected Liverpool to be selected. Any football tournament in this country without this city involved would be unthinkable. Let’s hope that England now wins the bid.’’
Steven Gerrard, Liverpool Captain and England Vice-Captain, said: ‘’Liverpool is such an historic footballing city I’m not surprised we’ve been chosen. I’m 100% behind England’s bid and I’d love to see World Cup games played here.’’
Rafael Benitez, Manager of Liverpool FC, said: "It’s great News
. This city lives and breathes football and if England are successful it will be a fantastic stage for World Cup games.’’
Liverpool’s bid, which includes detailed plans of Fan Fest Sites, a four-year themed programme to 2018 and legacy projects, also had the regions support with proposals that Blackburn, Preston, Tranmere and Wigan Football clubs’ stadia act as training venues during the 2018 tournament.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA which helped co-ordinated Liverpool’s regional offer, said: "Liverpool has worked as a city and as part of the region, involving Premier League clubs from across the Northwest, in order to create a strong bid. I am delighted that the work of this partnership has been recognised and that Liverpool has the opportunity to take its rightful place as a host city in 2018 or 2022.
‘’Liverpool is a world-class centre of football with the capacity and the will to host successful World Cup matches. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which can make a major economic and social impact, from the millions of visitors and the chance to showcase city and region to a global audience, to the opportunities for businesses and the jobs and training that this will generate."
England will put forward its official bid in May 2010 and FIFA will announce the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup in December 2010.
The full list of selected cities reads: Sunderland, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, NewcastleGateshead, Bristol, Plymouth, Liverpool and Milton Keynes.
Derby, Leicester and Hull were not selected. THE ECHO