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23 March 2010, 06:00
Ipswich Town are in the frame to become a training base at the 2018 or 2022 World Cup should England be named as the host country.
Town Chief Executive Simon Clegg (pictured here) signed the FIFA documentation yesterday, confirming the Club's desire to be considered as an official training centre for one of the 32 competing nations.
Although Town supported Milton Keynes' successful bid to be one of the 12 cities for England's 2018 World Cup campaign, the Football Association have now invited individual bodies to state their case to be considered as an official training camp.
"While there would be many benefits to the Club if the World Cup comes to Ipswich, there would be far greater implications for the local community," said Simon.
"Having spent seven years trying to convince a sceptical Cabinet and the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, on the merits of supporting a pipe dream of running London for the 2012 Olympic Games, I am well versed in all the arrangements relating to the benefits of staging major events. While the scale of the benefits are somewhat different, the principles are the same.
"In the event of our bid being successful, Ipswich would expect to host not only the players from a particular national team and their support staff, but also the huge travelling army of media and focus that follow them.
"All these people would require accommodation and meals in our local community from 10 days before the start of the competition until three days after their final training session.
"I know from my own experience of basing Team GB on Australia's Gold Coast in the build up to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, just what an economic drive this can be for the local economy.
"The benefit is not just restricted to the few weeks immediately before and during the World Cup. If we are successful it will create the most wonderful promotional and marketing platform for Ipswich and Suffolk to drive long term benefit and a real legacy.
"So I'd encourage everyone in Ipswich whether they are a Town fan or not to get behind England's World Cup bid. This is a great opportunity not only for English football but now for Ipswich as well."