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2018 FIFA World Cup

Volume 519: debated on Monday 29 November 2010

14. What role the Government has played in supporting the Football Association’s bid for the 2018 FIFA World cup. (26746)

I briefed the Cabinet this morning on our chances for the 2018 World cup bid, and I know the whole House will want to wish the bid team the very best of luck in Zurich this week. I shall be going with my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and the Olympics. The Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the whole Government are wholeheartedly behind the bid.

A successful World cup bid would boost support for football right through to local divisions and local clubs. The coalition agreement sets out a commitment to co-operative-run football clubs. Supporters of Ilkeston Town football club in my constituency recently submitted a bid to run the club. Although the bid itself was unsuccessful, the club is now secured under new ownership, but what plans do the Government have to promote community-run football clubs?

My hon. Friend raises an important point. We want to see whether it is possible to create an easier pathway for supporters to build up the capital to enable them to take ownership of clubs in a way that does not threaten the investment by other people which has also been so important for the world of football. Obviously, the week before the World cup bid is not the time to bring forward football governance proposals, but we will be looking at the situation very carefully and bringing other measures to the House shortly afterwards.

We are right behind the Government’s campaign to bring the World cup to this country, because it would do a huge amount to boost children’s interest in sport. It is important that youngsters have good facilities and the right coaching, too. The Government claim that the money for specialist sports colleges is going into un-ring-fenced schools budgets, but is it not the case that the £162 million for the Youth Sport Trust, which funds school sport partnerships, is not being passed over to schools? That money is just being cut.

It is not the case. We are committed to a sporting legacy for 2012 for every single child, no matter what their background or what school they go to. The legacy that we had from the hon. Gentleman’s Government was four out of five older children not doing any sport at all, and an Olympic-sized hole in the Budget.