Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson has confirmed FIFA have opened the door for England to bid for the 2018 World Cup by ending rotation of the tournament.
Members of the FA board will now decide on the next steps at a meeting on Wednesday, but the Government have already made it clear they are very keen on a bid.
Speaking at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich, Thompson said: "We welcome the move from the FIFA executive committee. The FA will now consider their position and we also welcome the support we have had from the Government."
FIFA's executive committee unanimously agreed to scrap the system of rotating the World Cup between tournaments, and the only restrictions for 2018 is that countries from Africa and South America will not be able to bid as their continents are hosting the finals in 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (Brazil).
England are likely to face a number of other strong challengers however including Russia, China, Australia and USA or Mexico, and possibly a Benelux joint bid from Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg.