England is the next stop for FIFA inspectors reviewing the candidacies of the bidders for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and the Football Association is promoting the English bid as a "safe bet" in
the face of its stiff competition from Russia, which has lots of political clout and money but lots of questions about its facilities and infrastructure.
The FIFA delegation, whose tour begins Monday, will visit London as well as Manchester, Sunderland and Newcastle and inspect Old Trafford, Eastlands, the Stadium of Light and St. James' Park.
The English promise they will deliver big bucks -- $897 million in ticket revenues -- but "a low-risk tournament." After the English tour, the FIFA group will conclude its worldwide tour with stops in Spain-Portugal, the United States and Qatar.