(WFI) England 2018 CEO Andy Anson says he is “more confident than ever” that his bid team will reach their £15.5million ($25million) funding target, saying that proposed commercial deals could see them exceed it.
“If I say we’re very close you won’t believe me, but we are very close,” Anson told reporters.
“There’s two or three commercial deals that are in very good shape right now,” he said. “I’m more confident than ever that we will have at least £15.5 million and hopefully more than that.”
Asked if England 2018 might hit their total by Christmas, Anson smiled and pointed out he was about to fly out for the World Club Championships in Abu Dhabi and would then head to Zurich for the World Player of the Year Awards on Monday.
But he assured reporters that he was confident the deals would be concluded soon.
Barely one month ago, England’s World Cup bid had appeared in dire straits with the Premier League and British government simultaneously rejecting requests for cash support.
England 2018 had asked for £5million, but only received benefit-in-kind support from the EPL and the offer of a £2.5million ($4 million) loan from the government.
Such parsimony threatened to undermine the bid with the lack of unity in contrast to rival Russian and Australian bids, which have received significant financial support from their own governments.
But as revealed by WFI three weeks ago, Anson had made up a large portion of this deficit by demanding each of the 12 successful applicant host cities to put £250,000 towards the England 2018 fighting fund.
With commercial support on the horizon, Anson now looks set to bring England 2018’s budget back on track.
Anson added that he would still also like to take up the offer of a £2.5million loan made by the British government. He said that discussions about how and when it is repaid are ongoing and added that the final decision would be made by the FA Council.
Anson praised the government, which this week signed funding guarantees worth £300 million, saying that it represented “a good show of how we’re working together.”
“They’ve shown fantastic support in getting the guarantees signed five months in advance, which is unheard of and unprecedented and they’ve worked blooming hard on that.”
Written by James Corbett
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