The British government is to back an English bid for the 2018 World Cup, according to Sports Minister Richard Caborn.
Caborn confirmed that Chancellor Gordon Brown, who met Uefa president Lennart Johansson on Wednesday, was “very, very keen” on the idea.
Ashed whether the government will support a bid, Caborn told BBC Radio 4: “Absolutely. I have no doubt.”
The Football Association has still to make a final decision about a bid, but chairman Brian Barwick said: “We would like it.”
The 2010 World Cup is being held in South Africa, with the 2014 tournament expected to go to a South American country as part of Fifa’s policy of rotating the finals around each continental federation.
Barwick added: “If that is the year when it comes back to Europe, we’re going to go for it.
“We don’t have to decide now how we go about it, we have to learn the lessons of when we didn’t get these things and learn the lessons of when we did – like the Olympics.
“I think (bid leader) Lord Coe was very clever, a brilliant guy and a really huge contributory factor, as was the playing of the major officials at the right time.”
Meanwhile, UEFA president Lennart Johansson offered his backing for a bid from England.
“I spoke with the Chancellor Gordon Brown and he is very keen on the idea of it coming back to England,” Johansson told a media briefing in London.
“After Germany this year, it is going to South Africa in 2010 and then to South America in 2014.
“The next time it might be back in Europe would be 2018. England have not had the World Cup since 1966 and I know there is a great deal of interest to support such a project.”