England eyeing World Cup windfall

PARIS: England players could net some 400,000 pounds (640,000 dollars) if they lift the World Cup next summer, media reports said on Saturday.

Under Italian coach Fabio Capello, the Three Lions have qualified in record time and according to The Sun tabloid they will net the windfall if they end a trophy drought stretching back to 1966.

According to The Sun, the Football Association have set aside 5.5 million pounds for win bonuses - the 1966 squad led by the late Bobby Moore picked up a mere 1,000 pounds in contrast - to be distributed according to the number of matches played by each squad member.

Glory in South Africa would earn the FA a reported 60 million pounds in commercial spinoffs, The Sun asserts.

The FA insisted the bonus structure was not yet fixed with a spokesman saying no meetings or discussions on the topic had been undertaken to date.

Even if the reported figure is correct it would represent barely three weeks wages for top stars such as Wayne Rooney, Steve Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

Given England's strong recent form since Capello took over from Steve McClaren, who failed to lead the squad to Euro 2008, bookies have made them one of the favourites for next year's finals, along with Brazil and European champions Spain.