ZURICH - Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis
Zapatero has promised FIFA a high-speed rail link with Portugal
if the neighbours win their joint bid to host the 2018 World
"Today Spain is the European country with the broadest
network of high speed trains and Spain and Portugal will be
connected by these trains as well," Zapatero said in a
presentation to FIFA's executive committee on Thursday.
"We could organise a World Cup next month if it were
necessary," he said, adding that an outstanding network of
railways and highways already connected the big cities of Spain
Neither he nor Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates made
mention of the financial crisis gripping their economies which
has forced both governments to consider austerity measures that
have led to concerns about the rail link.
FIFA will choose the host nations for the 2018 and 2022
World Cups later on Thursday. Spain and Portugal are competing
against England, Russia and a joint bid from Netherlands and
In his presentation to FIFA, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte
said the economies of the Low Countries were in a good position
to host the tournament.
"It is important to have strong economies backing the bid.
We have two strong economies here," he said.
Spain and Portugal have budgeted the lowest amount for
stadiums, saying they will spend almost $2 billion, compared to
$2.4 billion for Netherlands and Belgium, $2.5 billion for
England and $3.8 billion for Russia.
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