The British government has given its backing for an England bid to host the 2018 World Cup finals.
An official study into the project has concluded that England is in a good position to stage the competition.
The final decision on tabling a bid lies with the Football Association, although their resolve will be strengthened by the backing of senior government figures such as chancellor Gordon Brown and sports minister Richard Caborn.
Brown and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell are due to visit the new Wembley Stadium to launch the report of the government’s feasibility study on holding the 2018 contest.
She told BBC Radio Five Live: “The FA will, in due course, make their decision.
“What Gordon Brown and I are showing today is that a World Cup bid would have unqualified Government support.
“That was such an important part in winning an Olympic bid.”
England would be expected to be the favourites to earn the 2018 tournament, having not hosted the World Cup since 1966.
It would also be the natural turn of a European nation after South Africa in 2010 and, it is thought likely, a South American country in 2014.
The government’s study considered England’s stadiums and infrastructure as well as the legacy and economic benefits hosting the tournament would bring.
Jowell played down claims that the rising cost of the 2012 Olympics could jeopardise public support.
“The 2012 Olympics are not a nightmare, and nor are costs going up all the time,” she said.
“Olympic Games, through the staging, make money.”
Jowell insisted an English bid would be something people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would support.
“If any country in the UK were to host a global sporting event on this kind of scale, it becomes something that the whole of the UK becomes enthused by.”