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Asian backing for Iberian bid

But concerns raised about stadium funding

Last Updated: 25/11/10 7:00pm

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The president of the Asian Football Confederation Mohamed Bin Hammam has confirmed for the first time that he will support Spain/Portugal's bid for the 2018 World Cup.

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Qatari president Bin Hammam will therefore vote for the Iberians and not England, Russia or Holland/Belgium on the 2nd December.

He also insists that there is no illegal pact between Spain/Portugal's bid and Qatar's attempt to land the 2022 World Cup.

The bids were last week cleared by Fifa's ethics committee of collusion on the grounds of lack of evidence.

Bin Hammam told Marca: "Asia supports the Iberian bid. There's an excellent relationship between Asian football and Spanish football, we have done a lot of projects together, but that doesn't mean there has been a pact between us.

"It is something that happens between a lot of bids and it's not at all illegal.

"Qatar is going to support Spain and Portugal and they will support us, but we're not breaking any rules."

It remains to be seen whether Bin Hammam can persuade other Asian confederation members to vote for the Iberian bid.

However, Spain/Portugal's attempt has been dealt a blow after doubts were raised regarding their ability to fund stadium improvements.

Angel Laborda, chief economist at Spanish savings bank foundation Funcas, believes cities proposing to update 2018 World Cup stadiums would face trouble securing loans.

"If building these stadiums means taking on more debt, I fear that they won't happen," Laborda told Bloomberg.

"The government won't let them."

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