Mayor Boris says London still leading voice in football

London Mayor Boris Johnson says bid defeat is a “blow”.

LONDON Mayor Boris Johnson said the capital would continue to “provide a strong voice in football and world sport” despite England losing out on staging the 2018 World Cup today.

Russia held off competition from England as well as joint bids from Spain and Portugal and the Netherlands and Belgium to win the right to stage the World’s biggest football event.

Expressing his disappointment at the bid defeat, Mr Johnson said: “This is a blow but we have achieved a great deal with this bid and we have much to look ahead to.

“We remain 100 per cent focused on developing London as the most exciting sporting destination in the world, and we have a lot to offer other countries from putting together our bid and from planning the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Earlier ex-West Ham striker Tony Cottee described his disappointment at the decision, but praised the presentation made by Prince William, David Beckham, David Cameron and Eddie Afekafe, a community coach for the Football Foundation’s Kickz project, in front of FIFA’s executive committee earlier today and felt the 30-strong delegation in Zurich did everything they could.

“There is no doubt in my mind we put together the best bid and it is unfortunate it does not necessarily come down to that,” said the Sky Sports pundit.

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“It’s a real disappointment for everyone. It’s the second high-profile failure we have had after 2006 and it’s a huge blow for everyone.

“I honestly believe everyone in the bidding team did all they could. The Triesman incident and the Panorama programme probably didn’t help.”

England has only previously hosted the competition once in 1966, the year the Three Lions won it and will not get the opportunity to host the tournament again until 2030 at the earliest.

Three London stadiums featured as part of the unsuccessful campaign, with Wembley, the Olympic Stadium and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium all proposed venues, while every corner of the country was set to see match action with games set to feature everywhere from Newcastle and Manchester to Plymouth and Bristol.

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