The joint bids for the 2018 World Cup finals ? Netherlands/Belgium and Portugal/Spain ? pledged environmentally sound events if picked as hosts by the ruling body FIFA.

The managing director of the Iberian bid, Miguel Angel Lopez, promised that they would plant 1,000 trees for every goal that was scored at the finals in the city in which it was scored.

He said that their bid was built around three major points: The environment, cities and stadia with cutting-edge infrastructure, and financial success.

?We can guarantee FIFA record income in terms of attendance,? he said.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said that the two countries would be able to host a fantastic tournament.

?We offer infrastructural capacity and special conditions in our country. In fact, we could organize the World Cup next month if needed.? Spanish FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar Llona, meanwhile, dismissed allegations that the bid process was corrupt in the wake of vote-swapping allegations in connection with the 2022 World Cup election also set for Thursday.

?FIFA executive members are hard-working and honest and there is nothing to the slander that has been in the media,? he said.

The Iberian bid was the second on Thursday to present their bid after the Dutch/Belgian one, with England and Russia still to follow.

Earlier the president of the Netherlands and Belgian bid, Ruud Gullit, also promised an environmentally sound World Cup.

?Bicycles are an important mode of transportation in our countries and people could cycle from game to game. That is not just a gimmick, it could be the reality,? said Gullit, who captained the Dutch to the Euro 1988 title.

Former goalkeeper Jean-Marie Pfaff also promised a fun World Cup if the Low Countries were chosen.

?The World Cup is all about football, but in between people really want to enjoy themselves. A World Cup in the Netherlands and Belgium will give everyone a wonderful and safe feeling.? Prime Ministers Yves Leterme (Belgium) and Mark Rutte (Netherlands) were on hand to assure FIFA that all guarantees would be met by their governments.

The Low Countries also refuted alleged FIFA concerns about co-hosting, saying their staging of Euro 2000 was smooth. The World Cup has been co-hosted only once in the past, 2002 in South Korea and Japan.

The two Asian nations are individual bidders for 2022 this time around, along with Qatar, Australia and the United States. These five bids will make their presentations later on Wednesday.

Keywords: FIFA World Cup


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