MANCHESTER, England – The chairman of FIFA's inspection team spoke positively on Thursday about England's bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or '22 at the end of a four-day visit to scrutinize the country's stadiums and infrastructure.
In a closing statement, Harold Mayne-Nicholls said all of the inspectors' needs had been met following the six-man team's visit of London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sunderland this week.
"We are positive that the World Cup in England in 2018 or '22 would be a great experience with a long-lasting legacy for this country and its football, as well as for football worldwide," Mayne-Nicholls said.
A 24-man FIFA executive committee will vote on Dec. 2 to decide which countries will host the 2018 and '22 tournaments. Russia is bidding to host both and is expected to be England's chief rival.
Mayne-Nicholls, president of Chile's soccer federation, said many aspects of England's bid were "perfect" but suggested FIFA needed more guarantees on the level of accommodation offered in the country.
"Concerning public transportation and event facilities, there seems to be no problem in hosting an event of such scope. This also counts for safety and security matters," Mayne-Nicholls said.
"One thing FIFA are particularly focused on is accommodation, as we need a very high number of quality rooms. This is why we ask all bidders for a certain number of contracted hotel rooms. We trust that you will be able to fulfill the necessary requirements."
Mayne-Nicholls said inspectors had been warmly received by England bid chiefs, adding: "They have organized the visit in a perfect way, with great professionalism, but also with a sense of friendship and hospitality."
None of the inspectors who visited England this week is a member of the executive committee that will vote in less than 100 days' time.
Russia was warned by Mayne-Nicholls last week that it would have to start work immediately on constructing up to 10 new stadiums from scratch to be ready in time.
While Russia and England are bidding for both 2018 and '22, it is widely expected that the former will go to Europe, which also has joint bids from Belgium and the Netherlands, and Spain and Portugal.