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Host cities help World Cup bid

England's 2018 World Cup bid has been boosted by a significant injection of funds, with each of the 12 host cities chosen as part of the bid contributing £250,000.

Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield and Sunderland were chosen to host games if England should prove successful in its bid to host the competition for the first time since 1966, although Fifa will have the final say on venues. Derby, Leicester and Hull's attempts to be included as part of the bid were unsuccessful.

In addition to the £3 million from the would-be host cities, the bid's chief executive, Andy Anson, told press that the bid is close to securing major sponsorship backing to take it closer to its £15.5 million fundraising target.

Meanwhile, the government has handed the bid a £2.5 million loan, as well as signing off £300 million in financial guarantees for the bid. The loan, along with a percentage of profits if England wins the right to host the tournament, will be paid back to support grassroots sport.

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