The Government has got behind England’s campaign to host the football World Cup in 2018 with a £2.5 million loan.
In a further boost to the campaign, ministers earlier agreed to £300 million of financial guarantees to help fund the Football Association’s drive and build and renovate stadia across the country.
The international football governing body, Fifa, will meet in December next year to make its decision on where the tournament will be held.
Under the agreement, the money will be paid back - along with a share of the profits from the event if England wins the bid - to support grassroots sports.
Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, who sits on the 2018 World Cup Advisory Group, said: “We are very pleased to confirm that, on top of the support we have already given by signing off guarantees worth around £300 million, we have agreed to lend England 2018 £2.5 million, to help the campaign team make the case for a fantastic World Cup in England in 2018.”