England 2018 World Cup bid suffers blow over fans visa fee

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London, May 18 (ANI): England's hopes of hosting the 2018 World Cup have been dealt another blow with secret papers revealing a government denial to remove visa fees of traveling fans amounting to 20 million pounds.

Just two days after Lord Triesman was exposed for smearing rival bids from Spain and Russia, Home Office papers show that FIFA is deeply unhappy with the Football Association over its refusal to waive visa costs for fans.

Football's world governing body expects host nations not to charge the fees as South Africa has done this summer, but the Home Office has refused to foot the cost due to budget cuts, The Mirror reports.

A secret memo to new Home Secretary Theresa May warns it maybe a "fatal blow" to England's 2018 bid.

The document says: "The FA suggested that several key votes will come from nations whose citizens will need to pay for a visa unless provided free. It is suggested if we charge these nations for a visa this will be perceived as discriminatory in comparison with fans attending the World Cup from European countries who are entitled to free movement and those from non-visa counties who can attend for free."

"Consequently, the FA sees the levying of visa fees for such nationals as a significant and potentially a fatal problem. It is anticipated that rival bidding nations, such as Russia, will offer free visas for spectators and participants," it adds.

A Home Office source said: "The last Home Secretary ruled it out on cost as there is simply not the money. There seems little choice but for the new Home Secretary to do the same." (ANI)

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