Actions speak louder than words for Bates in World Cup bid

KEN BATES is confident England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup remains on track ahead of next week's four-day visit by the FIFA inspection team.

The six-man team of officials from world football's governing body, who spent last week in Russia, are visiting all nine contenders hoping to stage either the 2018 or 2022 finals.

It is anticipated that the inspectors, who are headed by experienced FIFA administrator Harold Mayne-Nicholls, will tour a number of proposed World Cup venues in London and the regions to inspect facilities.

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Elland Road, Leeds, and Sheffield's Hillsborough are among the 16 stadia shortlisted by the England 2018 bid team, though, at this stage, it is not clear if either will be on the FIFA team's itinerary.

Leeds United chairman Bates, who was on the committee of the unsuccessful bid to bring the 2006 World Cup to this country, said: "I would think England has a better chance than most of getting the World Cup. We have had a few setbacks but seem to have come through.

"It means this is a big week for the bid. It seems lessons have been learned from the past.

"I was on the 2006 committee and we had a good bid but the presentation was poor. When the FIFA inspectors were here, there was a 'World Night' at the British Museum that was just too extravagant and not enough to do with football."

FIFA will announce who has won the race to host both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on December 2.

With this year's finals having been held in South Africa and Brazil set to host the 2014 tournament, a European country is almost certain to be chosen to host the 2018 World Cup.

That will mean England having to pip Russia plus joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Holland/ Belgium. The 2022 battle will be between Australia, Qatar, Japan, South Korea and the United States.

Russia appear to be England's biggest rival, with the FIFA inspection team having last week visited St Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi.

The delegates, whose tour of potential host countries will continue until mid-September, were also given assurances about the funding of the World Cup by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

If England do get the nod in December, attention will then turn to which of the 16 potential venues will make the final cut to host games.

Bates added: "Our plans for developing the club and facilities at Elland Road are in line with FIFA requirements.

"In three weeks' time, our new pavilion will be open and, if Leeds is part of the 2018 World Cup, that area will be the media centre.

"It will show FIFA that we are the type to deliver.

"Or as I put it, we deal in deeds not words.

"We also have plans later this year to finish off the East Stand, which will bring in extra facilities that, again, will be in accordance with the FIFA guidelines.

"We are doing all this for the ordinary fans of Leeds United but they all fit in with FIFA, as well.

"Other clubs and other cities will say they plan to do this and plan to do that. But we are doing it."

England's bid became embroiled in scandal earlier this year after Football Association chairman Lord Triesman was forced to resign after reported comments suggested Spain and Russia had been conspiring to bribe referees.