Is U.S. President Barack Obama trying to get the World Cup to America?
According to the New York Times, he just might be.
Not the 2010 World Cup, of course. But how about the 2018 or 2022 Cup?
In a letter hand-delivered to FIFA President Sepp Blatter, (Blatter's so important that Obama has to have his letter hand-delivered) the US President said, “As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta (his youth in Indonesia), and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago,” the president added.
“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe,” Obama added in the letter, a part of which was released to The New York Times by the United States Soccer Federation with permission from the White House.
“That is why this bid is about much more than a game,” he added. “It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams.”
Obama is hoping to influence FIFA when the decision for 2018 and 2022 is made in December 2010, five months after the next World Cup in South Africa.
Does the President have any experience with football?
According to the article:
So what do you think? I know I'd love to see the World Cup here in the States.
He has attended games involving his 10-year-old, Malia, in Chicago and in 2003 visited his half sister Auma in London and went to a match at West Ham, in the Premier League. After he was elected president in early November, West Ham invited him to return to Upton Park, but his publicists denied the basic tabloid speculation that he roots for the Hammers, or anybody.
A man that politically astute should know that the claret-and-blue Hammers are an ideal team for a community organizer. Long identified with shipbuilders and dockworkers, West Ham has seen many of its ticket holders move out of the area while local periwinkle shops gave way to halal butcher shops. The club has run clinics to draw neighborhood children from South Asia into their fan base.
US Soccer is trying to use the popularity of the new President to sway FIFA's vote. With the vast infrastructure already in place and the generally positive reviews the 1994 US World Cup received from FIFA executives, why not?
The infrastructure isn't there in South Africa. But FIFA awarded Africa their first World Cup for a variety of reasons.
Brazil will host the 2014 Cup. They have a plethora of infrastructure issues.
Maybe FIFA will decide to go with the nation most ready for the World Cup?
England? The USA? What do you think?