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By ESPN Staff

FIFA delay decision on World Cup bidding

Football's leaders have delayed a decision on World Cup bidding until December but agree in principle that the 2018 and 2022 tournaments should be voted on at the same time, FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced today.

Blatter has been pushing for both hosts to be voted on at the same meeting in three years' time but some opposition to the double tender surfaced at a meeting of FIFA's 24-man executive committee in Zurich today.

As a result, a decision has been postponed until their next meeting in December.

He told a news conference in Zurich: ''A proposal was made that we should decide the 2018 and 2022 World Cups together so that we can offer a package and give the organisations and governments the necessary time to prepare.

''The executive committee was in agreement, there was a positive reaction to this general idea, but three or four members asked to postpone the final decision for several weeks to look at not only the advantages but some inconveniences that may happen.

''The principle has been accepted however.''

The delay means that England's detailed plans for their campaign remain somewhat in limbo. It would certainly be a blow to their hopes if only the 2018 tournament went to a vote in 2011 because it would probably mean USA, potentially major rivals, entering the race.

If there were a double tender for 2018 and 2022, the USA would be more likely to target the later tournament.

Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer welcomed the delay, adding: ''I think it is a sensible decision. Many of the associations had only heard about this idea to award both tournaments simultaneously through the media, so delaying the decision gives us all more time to discuss the proposal and hear people's thoughts on it.''

He also claimed that England's success under Fabio Capello will do wonders for their 2018 World Cup bid.

Beckenbauer, one of the 24 FIFA top brass who will decide on the 2018 hosts, now rates England as having ''a great chance'' - especially as under Capello the national side have shaken off the embarrassment of failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

''England will have a great chance for 2018 because if it is going to come to Europe, which is my feeling for how it will go, then England will be in a very strong position,'' he said.

''They have the best club football, the best infrastructure, and they have the fans.

''The national team did not perform so well when they failed to make Euro 2008 but they are back on track now under Fabio Capello in qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, and that is important.''


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