World Cup football could come to the West Midlands under plans for stadia in the region to host youth matches, it can be revealed today.
Molineux in Wolverhampton and Villa Park in Birmingham have been been chosen as potential venues by the Football Association.
It is finalising a bid to host the 2017 under-20 World Cup.
They are among 10 sites across the UK including the Reebok stadium in Bolton, the Amex Community Stadium in Brighton, Ashton Gate in Bristol, King Power in Leicester, Etihad in Manchester, Riverside in Middlesbrough, Stadium mk in Milton Keynes and Carrow Road in Norwich which are all in the running to host matches.
All are subject to further negotiation and review between the FA and the cities and clubs concerned, before a final list is submitted to FIFA, world football’s governing body next month.
It is likely not all of the 10 would be chosen as venues by FIFA should the FA be successful. However the stadia have had to compete with others all over the country to get this far.
The bids to be included were put together by councils in each area who have worked with the football clubs.
Matt Grayson, spokesman for Wolves, said: “We are very pleased to be supporting the city’s efforts to be part of the potential under-20 World Cup.
“It is an excellent achievement for Wolverhampton to have made the short list and emphasises the partnership between the club, the city council and the private sector,” he added.
Wolverhampton City Council said it did not wish to comment further while things were at a sensitive stage.
The final bid will be submitted on November 15, with FIFA set to make a decision at its executive committee meeting in Brazil on December 4 or 5.
The U20s World Cup is the second largest global football competition after the World Cup, which England hosted in 1966.
Diego Maradona, Marco van Basten and Lionel Messi are among the players to have featured prominently in the competition which will be marking its 40th anniversary in 2017.
England lost out on a bid to host the 2018 World Cup after FIFA awarded the tournament to Russia and the 2022 competition to Qatar.
An investigation into the voting process is currently under way amid allegations of wrongdoing.
The 24-nation finals are scheduled for summer 2017.