4. What support his Department is giving to the Football Association’s bid to host the 2018 World Cup. (2997)
I know that, as this question is about the World cup, the whole House will want to wish Fabio Capello and the England team every success in the crucial match on Wednesday night. With your permission, Mr Speaker, as this is the first day of Wimbledon, we also wish Andy Murray, Laura Robson and all the British competitors success.
The 2018 World cup bid is an extraordinary opportunity for this country; the Government are wholly committed to it. The Prime Minister, my hon. Friend the Minister responsible for sport and the Olympics and I have spoken to or met the FIFA executive committee members who will make the decision.
I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. If I had not had the joy of being elected to this House, I would have been in South Africa right now, watching the games. [Hon. Members: “Ahh.”] I know it is sad, but I would rather be here representing. I hope to enjoy being able to watch the games here in 2018. Will my right hon. Friend join me in congratulating the people of England on their display of fervour for our team—including my local paper, the Evening Star, which for the World cup rebranded itself the “England Star”?
Order. We are making rather slow progress, but the question is about the 2018 World cup.
I was in South Africa at the weekend, doing my job. I saw for myself how a World cup can unify, enthuse and excite a country. I am determined that we do the same for this country in 2018.
I am sure that the Minister is aware that Newcastle is one of the cities bidding for the 2018 World cup, and that it is immensely proud of its premiership football team. What will the Secretary of State do to ensure that the supporters of teams such as Newcastle United—I should say that I am on its supporters trust—can take steps for the co-operative ownership of their football teams? Will he meet me to discuss the matter?
I am happy to meet the hon. Lady to discuss that issue, which we are committed to exploring in a great deal more detail. If we win the 2018 World cup bid, Newcastle will be one of the successful host cities, which will be brilliant for her and fellow supporters of Newcastle United.