World Cup football could be coming to the North East in 2018 and bring £25m to the region’s economy. Adam Jupp finds out how the region is backing the bid.
THERE are hopes that England will stage the 2018 World Cup and - as the beautiful game comes home - the North East could get a slice of the action.
England is set to submit its bid to FIFA later this year, in which it will name the cities where fixtures would be played. Both Newcastle Gateshead and Sunderland are campaigning to be named candidate host cities, which would see four teams from around the globe based in the region.
It is estimated that £25m would be injected into the North East economy if either bid is successful, with tens of thousands of fans jetting in for the festival of football.
Bid leaders have drawn-up detailed documents outlining how each city would accommodate teams and their supporters, including their respective hotel stocks and transport infrastructures.
Now, their attentions have turned to demonstrating there is widespread public support for their efforts ahead of a series of FA and FIFA inspection visits to the North East which are expected over the coming months.
On Tyneside, businesses have been displaying window stickers, urging customers to “Back the Bid,” while others have agreed to all staff wearing football shirts to work for the day.
David Collins, owner of The Telegraph bar in Newcastle city centre is among those pledging his support. He said: “We wholeheartedly support the bid. Bringing the World Cup to the twin cities would be a huge benefit to the licensed trade in the city.”
Another business to support the Newcastle Gateshead bid is marketing and communications firm Robson Brown. Managing director Andrew Marwick said: “Football has played a major part in shaping the heritage and culture of this region so it would be fantastic to see the World Cup come to St James’ Park.
“The area has a fantastic track record in hosting major events so we are very excited at the prospect of once again being the centre of the world’s attention.”
Sunderland’s campaign has won the backing of two of Wearside’s biggest employers. Both Nissan and Caterpillar have supported the bid and launched special signing books for workers to add their names to a petition urging the FA to choose Sunderland.
Phil Handley, managing director at Caterpillar in Peterlee, said: “Caterpillar is thrilled at the prospect of the World Cup coming to the region.
“Not only will our employees be able to enjoy some of the best football in the world right here on their doorstep, there will also be immense benefits to the region’s economy and international profile as well as improvements in infrastructure which is something Caterpillar is firmly engaged in on a global scale. As a key employer in County Durham, it is important for us and other businesses to offer our support to really drive the bid on so we’re only too pleased to welcome the bid team and players to Caterpillar Peterlee.”