Thousands of new jobs could be created on the back of Birmingham’s selection as a host city in England’s bid for the 2018 football World Cup.
Birmingham was one of 12 cities chosen by the Football Association for its official bid document, with Villa Park the city’s proposed stadia put forward to stage three group matches.
The successful application would bring massive economic benefits to the region with thousands of fans expected stay in the West Midlands to attend the games.
Katie Teasdale, head of policy at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s great news for the city and the region that Villa Park has been selected and it’s testament to the city that we have such great facilities.
“In South Africa they are talking about (the 2012 football World Cup creating) 160,000 new jobs and the influx of tourists can only be a good thing for our hotels and restaurants.”
The Birmingham bid was coordinated by various partners including the city council, S&X Media, Marketing Birmingham, Advantage West Midlands and the NEC Group.
Council leader Coun Mike Whitby said: “This is terrific news and, as the UK’s City of Sport, I think it should be no surprise Birmingham is included in the FA’s bid.
“We have so many qualities and will undoubtedly enhance the England 2018 bid.
“As a host city we have everything – transport infrastructure, excellent facilities, a reputation for successfully hosting some of the world’s biggest events and, of course, a passion for sport.
“In Villa Park we have one of the finest stadiums in the country and as a multi-cultural city we can guarantee a warm welcome and a home crowd, for any team based in Birmingham.”
Thousands of votes were cast online for the Birmingham bid and hundreds of people, including celebrities Jasper Carrott and Kate Lawler as well as footballers from the region’s top clubs, uploaded One Kick videos to the official bid website.
Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newcastle/Gateshead, Nottingham, Plymouth, Sheffield and Sunderland were the other host cities selected.
Derby, Leicester and Hull all missed out.
The FA will deliver its official bid to football’s world governing body FIFA in May next year.
FIFA’s Executive Committee will announce in December 2010 which of the nine countries bidding has been successful.