Olympic stadium in World Cup bid

LONDON - London's 2012 Olympic stadium could stage matches during the 2018 soccer World Cup if England wins the right to host the tournament, bid organisers said yesterday.

LONDON - London's 2012 Olympic stadium could stage matches during the 2018 soccer World Cup if England wins the right to host the tournament, bid organisers said yesterday.

Brian Mawhinney, chairperson of the host city selection panel, named 17 stadiums in 12 candidate cities and towns as potential venues should Fifa award the 2018 event to England at next December's vote.

The possible venues include Wembley Stadium and Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London, with either Tottenham Hotspur's new White Hart Lane Stadium or the 2012 Olympic stadium to be added at a later date.

The list will eventually be reduced to around 10 or 12 stadiums by Fifa, who have the final say and will decide on the host nation in Zurich next December.

Mawhinney said matches could also be played at Sunderland (Stadium of Light), Birmingham (Villa Park), Manchester (Old Trafford and City of Manchester Stadium), Nottingham (new Nottingham Forest Stadium), Leeds (Elland Road), Sheffield (Hillsborough), Newcastle or Gateshead (St James' Park), Bristol (new Ashton Vale stadium), Plymouth (Home Park), Liverpool (Anfield or new Anfield) and Milton Keynes (Stadium MK).

Bids from Hull, Derby and Leicester failed to make the list, while the selection panel also decided against using Everton's Goodison Park, Bramall Lane in Sheffield and Birmingham City's St Andrews ground.

"We have chosen the venues that will offer the lowest possible risk to Fifa," Mawhinney said. "In our view the present Anfield in Liverpool with some modifications and modernisation would be adequate." - Reuters

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