FIFA president Sepp Blatter claims the success of the Olympic football tournament shows England could comfortably host a World Cup - but they still have to win a vote to do so.
Relations between the FA and FIFA dived to an all-time low after England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup when they managed only two votes. But a thaw in the frosty relations emerged on Wednesday when Blatter visited the new national football centre at St George's Park and announced a £315,000 grant from the world body's Goal project.
Asked about England hosting the World Cup at one day in the future, Blatter said: "They are able to host a World Cup - nobody doubted the fact. They can have a World Cup in England for sure with all these stadia and what they have shown now with the Olympics."
He added: "We have had two million spectators in the Olympics and in the World Cup we will have three million but we will have bigger stadia also, but they can do it. They are able to do it - definitely.
"But the elections for World Cup is an election which is made by an elective panel and you don't know where the votes are going because it is a secret ballot. But in the future we will see what will happen."
The FA and FIFA signed a memorandum of understanding, following similar agreements between the world body and the Spanish and German FAs, agreeing to share skills and knowledge with FIFA member associations. The FA will also fund bursaries for nine promising international coaches to study for the FA International Licence course under a new scheme.
It is only 18 months since FA chairman David Bernstein stood on the podium at the FIFA Congress and unsuccessfully called for Blatter's unopposed election to be postponed to allow for a rival to come forward.
Bernstein said Blatter's visit reflected a watershed moment in better relations between the two organisations.
Bernstein said: "Absolutely. If you look back to 2010 and the difficulties of that year and the World Cup bid, then move forward to the FIFA Congress, which was quite difficult though I continue to believe we did the right thing, and you see the developments since then and the warmth in the relationships today - it shows real, considerable progress.
"I'm really very pleased. At the time of greatest difficulty, I said we had to stay inside the FIFA tent. There's no point being outside it. We've stayed in the tent and we're progressing really well."
- Sports & Recreation
- Sepp Blatter