Fifa president Sepp Blatter said he would welcome a bid from England to host the 2018 World Cup after confirming he intended to scrap the tournament’s rotation policy.
“We shall make the World Cup available to everybody bar the last confederation which has organised it,” said Blatter.
“England is the motherland of football and I’d welcome a bid for 2018, but we’ve already had talks with China, and Australia are always in the running.”
Under the new proposal, no South American countries will be able to bid for the 2018 World Cup as Brazil look set to host the 2014 tournament.
Blatter told Bristish Prime Minister Gordon Brown that a World Cup in England was overdue.
“The last time we had the World Cup there (in England) was 1966 and by 2018 that will be practically three generations,” he said.
“But England will not be the only candidates. As well as China and Australia, there are the United States, Mexico and perhaps Canada.
“In Europe there is Russia and I will have talks with Holland and Belgium next month about whether a combined candidature is valid.”
Brown added: “While a bid is a matter for the FA, it would be a huge boost to football in our country and would also make for a great sporting decade.
“We will have the Olympics in 2012, potentially the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, perhaps event the rugby union World Cup in 2015 and then to be able to host the 2018 World Cup would be a marvellous completion of the best sporting decade in our history.”
The Football Association has welcomed Blatter’s comments, but refused to confirm that they will actually to host the 2018 finals.
An FA spokesman told BBC Sport: “The indications that the rotation policy is to be opened up is good news as we would like to bid for 2018, but we are awaiting official clarification.”