Tuesday, February 3, 2009

U.S. Makes Bid for 2018 or 2022 World Cup


We're years away the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but what better time to start thinking of them than now?

The United States was among 12 candidates to submit bids to FIFA for the right to host the 2018 or the 2022 World Cup.

FIFA set a deadline of May 2010 for the bidders to provide paperwork in support of their bids. The winning countries will be named in December 2010 after surveys and inspections by FIFA’s executive committee. The 2010 World Cup will be in South Africa (we hope) followed by the 2014 gala in Brazil.

“I don’t think that there’s any doubt that what happened two weeks ago in Washington has dramatically changed the view of the United States around the world,” Sunil Gulati, the president of the United States Soccer Federation, said Monday, referring to the Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the U.S.

“The change has been noticeable, audible and visible. It’s a positive for Chicago’s bid for the Olympics and now for the World Cup.”

The United States hosted the 1994 World Cup for the first time, with a cumulative attendance of more than 3.5 million fans, a record at the time. It led to the establishment of a domestic league (Major League Soccer) and helped kick-start the sport’s growth in the United States, which had not been particularly receptive to the sport.

FIFA has also received bids from England, Russia, Qatar, Australia, Mexico, Japan, Indonesia, Egypt and South Korea, and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/the Netherlands. It is widely believed that a European country, possibly England, which last hosted the tournament in 1966, has the inside track for 2018.

Gulati, speaking on a conference call, also announced the initial members of the United States organizing committee: Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer; David Downs, the former chief executive of Univision, the Spanish-language television channel; Dan Flynn, the United States federation’s chief executive; and Philip D. Murphy, the former national finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

“Soccer has grown tremendously, and I know we have the qualities to once again host the World Cup,” Downs, the committee’s chairman, said. “More than that, the United States was founded on diversity. The country has and will always open its arms to citizens of the world.”

MY POV: I've often stated I'd love to see the Cup come back here. Having said that, I'd love to travel to Australia or Egypt for the Cup. Let's see the Cup in the Middle East!

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