England hopes are dashed

LONDON - Fifa president Sepp Blatter has raised serious doubts over England's hopes of staging the World Cup in 2018.

LONDON - Fifa president Sepp Blatter has raised serious doubts over England's hopes of staging the World Cup in 2018.

If Fifa's executive committee decides in December to maintain its rotation policy, the tournament will be held in either North America or Asia.

Blatter, in London to meet Chancellor Gordon Brown, said: "The executive must take a decision whether the rotation should include all federations.

"If the Americas are considered as one, then rotation would go to Asia."

The United States has indicated its intention to bid to stage the finals for a second time, while China has thrown its hat into the ring with Australia.

Fifa's December executive committee meeting could decide to throw the competition out to all bidders.

Blatter said: "It may be that the majority of the Fifa executive committee, where you have eight European representatives out of 24, can find the 13 votes needed."

The Fifa president said his personal inclination was for the rotation to continue to North America, with the US, Mexico, and Canada all capable of hosting the tournament.

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has signalled his intention to stay on at Old Trafford for at least another two years.

The 65-year-old had a change of heart after announcing his retirement five years ago, and has put United in pole position to reclaim the Premiership.

He said: "I decided to give up in 2002 but I regretted it. Changing that idea gave me a fresh start.

"My pension can wait. There is nothing doing here for a couple of years." - BBC

X