Spain and Portugal agree joint bid for 2018 World Cup

2018 World Cup LogoLisbon - Spain and Portugal agreed Monday to make a joint bid to host the 2018 football World Cup.

A deal was reached in Lisbon by Spanish football federation president Angel Maria Villar and Portuguese counterpart Gilberto Madail, Portugal's news agency Lusa reported.

Spain hosted the 1982 World Cup and the European Championship in 1964, while Portugal were hosts of the 2004 European Championships, beating a bid from Spain.

Other countries to have expressed an interest in hosting the 2018 tournament are England, Australia, the United States, Russia, Qatar, Mexico, China and Belgium and the Netherlands in a joint bid.

Japan has also expressed an interest in hosting the tournament in 2018, or in 2022.

Football's world governing body FIFA last week began a two-year-long simultaneous bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

A circular letter was sent out by football's governing body to national associations on Thursday inviting them to express their interest to submit a bid for either or both tournaments.

There are 145 associations eligible to bid for the 2018 event and 198 for 2022.

South American countries are excluded from hosting both events as Brazil is due to host the World Cup in 2014, while African nations are prevented from the running for
2018 as South Africa is hosting the 2010 tournament.

The process will finish in December 2010, about six months after bidding countries are meant to have submitted detailed bids, when FIFA's Executive Committee will elect the hosts. (dpa)