FIFA, soccer's world governing body, on Monday dropped its World Cup rotation policy and will accept applications from any country outside South America or Africa wishing to bid on the 2018 tournament. The new rule is that countries belonging to confederations that hosted the two previous tournaments may not bid; South Africa will host the 2010 World Cup while Brazil is set to follow in 2014. England is expected to be among the applicants for 2018, along with China and Russia. The USA, Mexico and Canada had been considering a bid under the previous rotation policy that would have awarded the 2018 finals to a CONCACAF nation.
England's Football Association CEO Brian Barwick responded positively to the news, hinting that England would prepare a 2018 bid: "It is exactly what we were hoping for and we will now discuss a timetable for a potential bid," he said. "We realize there will be strong competition involved in any bidding process, but we know that England has fantastic stadiums, a unique tradition and passion for the game and also a very strong infrastructure already in place." England hasn't hosted the World Cup finals since 1966.