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USA in '18 (or '22)

U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati today formally announced the group's intentions to bid on hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. FIFA will determine both venues in December 2010.

David Downs, a 30-year veteran of the broadcast industry who was president of Univision sports since 2001, was named executive director of the USA Bid Committee. Other committee members are Gulati, USSF chief executive officer Dan Flynn, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Phil Murphy, the former national finance chair for the Democratic National Committee. Others will be added at a later date.

Gulati said the USSF has not had any direct contact with the new White House administration about the project yet, but did say that international receptiveness toward Americans has changed noticeably since President Obama's election and inauguration. In theory, that can only help the U.S. chances of winning the right to host another World Cup.

"I don't think there is any doubt that what happened over the last several months and what happened two weeks ago in Washington has dramatically changed the view of the United States and its leadership around the world. It would be impossible to think anything different. And for those of us that travel the world quite a bit that it is noticeable, it is audible, and it's visible. So that is clearly a positive frankly for Chicago bidding for the Olympics [in 2016] and for any effort to bring the World Cup back here....I am quite, quite sure that everything President Obama has said, everything he stands for, everything he has talked about in terms of reaching out to the world that trying to bring the global game to the United States and opening our borders up for a festival of 32 countries and hundreds of thousands of people from all corners of the world would be viewed in a very positive way."

For committee profiles, click here. For an overview of today's announcement, click there.

Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Qatar, Australia, Indonesia, England and Russia are among the other candidates. Spain and Portugal, as well as Netherlands and Belgium, had planned joint bids, but FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that co-hosts will not be considered. In a surprise, China apparently has decided not to bid.

USA in 2018? Or 2022?

By Steve Goff  |  February 2, 2009; 3:41 PM ET
Categories:  FIFA  
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Comments

Is there a level of soccer anywhere in the USA where Sunil Gulati does not have a job, especially one he has appointed himself to?

Posted by: dcufan | February 2, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that co-hosts will not be considered"

What the? Constantly changing the rules as he goes. It was fine for when he wanted/demanded there be an Asian World Cup.

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Realistically, Europe will be 2018, so we're racing, realistically, only Australia and any sentimentality to give Mexico's game an economic boost.

USA '22

Posted by: VirginiaBlueBlood | February 2, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Mexico is very good at paying bribes, though.

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

2018. 2018. 2018. The sooner the better. It's a global game and it's not entittled to England or anyone else but whoever presents with best option so we the USA will get it for 2018.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | February 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

dcufan: Gulati is the head of USSF. USSF is entering the bid. Why wouldn't he be on the committee?

Of the other candidates: South Korea and Japan? You just had a World Cup, don't be greedy.

Indonesia? Really? Seriously? Indonesia?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I do not remember enough about the World Cup when it was here 15 years ago (partly because I didn't care about the sport, then).

But having experienced, first hand, the event twice and the euphoria that gripped the respective host nations (in Korea and Germany) and witnessed the apathy here toward the sport here, I cannot imagine a more disspiriting venue than the US, where the World Cup would surely be subordinated to the MLB All-Star Game and NFL "Mini Camp" (if that is the right time), among other things.

Also, I would be interested to get a global take on the US bid. Certainly, it has not been in the US, Mexico or Canada since 1994, but for all of the vehemence towards England's bid and their feeling of entitlement, I have to believe that just as many from the U.S. perspective have a similar sense of entitlement.

Posted by: mojavebuckeye | February 2, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

... and to the one who last week wrote that the World Cup hasn't been hosted by a Spanish speaking nation in a while, let me just say:

Bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos. Aqui hablamos* español muy bien.

* The "Royal We," hablo español muy mal.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Qatar in July. I'm in!

Posted by: joedoc1 | February 2, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

If we have venues in Los Angeles, Houston, Dalllas and Phoenix, aren't we co-hosting with Mexico any way?

Posted by: IamAM | February 2, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Indonesia? Really? Seriously? Indonesia?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 4:28 PM

Hey, you can't win if you don't play!

Posted by: Kev29 | February 2, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Sweet. I remember Belgium/Saudi Arabia at RFK back in '94. Hell of a time for a 9 year old.

Posted by: Colm1 | February 2, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

I was at the RFK match as well. Goal of the tournament! Got a ticket a couple days prior to the match, which seems kind of amazing now.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 2, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Here is a decent article on the joint bid issue. Apparently and no surprise, Blatter's comments are not official policy, but FIFA accepts joint bids when and where a single country cannot host on its own:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/feedarticle/8338454

Posted by: mojavebuckeye | February 2, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Indonesia's bid plans.

Posted by: B_A_ | February 2, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

@mojavebuckeye: USA94 still has the record for highest per match attendance of all World Cups and the highest total attendance. The latter is notable when you consider that the format expanded from 24 to 32 teams after 94.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

If the US does in fact land the World Cup, I have a feeling it will lead to the US' first semi-final appearance in the World Cup. It would be sick/heady!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: RedskinAddict | February 2, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"international receptiveness toward Americans has changed noticeably since President Obama's election and inauguration."

...and his sister is Indonesian. Now I understand their bid. But where is Kenya's?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Mojavebuckeye, listen to I-270Exit1. The 94 World Cup remains to this day the best attended in the history of the tournament, and if I'm not mistaken, it also remains the most profitable ever (which obviously doesn't have much to do with atmosphere, but it sure matters to FIFA). I agree with you that the US is less likely to provide an atmosphere of electric support for the home team, but you never know... given 11 years of lead time, with a growing league and an evolving national team, we should definitely be able to top 1994, which wasn't too shabby in the first place.

Remember, back then we didn't even have a league and we hadn't won a World Cup match in 44 years. The US will probably never be a soccer obsessed nation like one finds in Europe or South America, but we can definitely get pumped up for a big event held on home soil. Having said all that, I think England probably gets 2018, and Australia really deserves a shot in 2022.

Posted by: ricky_b | February 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

====================================
If we have venues in Los Angeles, Houston, Dalllas and Phoenix, aren't we co-hosting with Mexico any way? - IamAM

Oh, so its only the US if the majority of people are white huh? And by white, I mean people whose can't distinguish their own cultural roots anymore.

Hey, what about New York... isn't that an Italian town?

I guess Boston isn't part of the USA because that's where all those immigrants from Ireland settled?

Pennsylvania can't be considered the US because most of them were Polish and German.

With a new administration in DC, I would hope that people that share their opinions on a blog that originates in DC wouldn't have to stoop to this.

Why can't you just say... Damn, let's cross our fingers and hope we get the bid!!
===================================

=====================================
Mexico is very good at paying bribes, though. - Reignking

I guess the CIA doesn't count as an agency of the USA? And I guess all those Ivy-League schools name buildings after great citizens for the heck of it and that former President G W Bush got into an Ivy-League University on his own merit???

I have sense of humor, but really? Please?!?!?!?!?!?
=====================================
Bye the bye, I hope we do get the bid in out here in the South West, because we have better weather and IMO more "vacation attractions" for everyone (including East Coast people).

Posted by: PocketKings | February 2, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it doesn't sound like you have a sense of humor.

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@mojavebuckeye: Think of an Orange Line train full of football fans wearing orange, singing and chanting on their way to RFK.

It happened. And it can happen again.

Posted by: seahawkdad | February 2, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

RFK will still be standing in 2022? Really?

Posted by: Southeasterner | February 2, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

seahawkdad, that happened for the Jamaica WCQ years ago -- and they forced everyone off of the train. Not fun to run outside looking for a cab!

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Was D.C.'s new stadium at Poplar Point mentioned in the proposal?

Posted by: notafembot | February 2, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

@seahawkdad -- it was amazing, no? I was at games in Giants Stadium and RFK -- lots of fun, going there, and lots of fun there, too. I didn't get to see the USA, then (I did see the USA gals at the '99 game in NJ -- wonderful atmosphere in the parking lot). I've seen the USA in Italy, France, and Germany -- the first time I got to enjoy a real USA party for a men's game was the metro train from downtown Nuremberg to the stadium -- USA vs. Ghana -- Sam's Army in force, singing in full throat. I'd love to have the chance to experience something like that here. But, it's cool, even when it's for other teams.

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The Mexico bid may upset my predictions. I think England's a shoo-in for 2018 host. I thought 2022 would be about a 50-50 battle with Australia and the U.S., with the USA the likely winner. Mexico might split off some votes from the USA -- not good to see them in it. No doubt, they'll argue the USA hosted more recently -- but, economics points to the USA right now (I think).

I'll be interested to see if we learn what the cities will be in the USSF bid -- or whether that's for after the bid is awarded...

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

@Reignking -- I was on that train. Darn Jamaicans broke one of the doors...

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

WC94 proved that the atmosphere in the US can compete anywhere. I went to all the games at RFK, and the only one that really lacked in atmosphere at all was Spain-Switzerland in the Round of 16 (mostly because the Swiss played by far their worst game of the tournament). Italy-Mexico and Netherlands-Saudi Arabia are both fundamental in me becoming a real soccer obsessive and not just another person who played in their youth only to move on. RFK shook in the upper decks when Mexico equalized against Italy. I was 12, and I was pretty sure I was going to die in a stadium collapse.

Any time I walk around the Armory to the Metro, I think of Dutch fans chanting in some guy's yard, and the guy going from belligerent to bewildered to resigned that these 7 or 8 guys were going to be in his yard shouting in Dutch for a couple hours. And of course, we also got to see Saeed Al-Owairan run past virtually the entire population of Belgium to score.

Anyway, getting past the nostalgia, I don't recall atmosphere being a problem for WC94. The biggest problems for us will be that 2018 is England's to lose. 2022 should be fairly easy pickings for us, frankly. FIFA loves making money and 1994 is still the standard-bearer in that department. I think our biggest competitor will be Australia, unless the economy swings back in Russia's favor again. I could see FIFA being intrigued at the possibility of the world's biggest sporting event in the world's biggest country.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | February 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

@ Chest -- So long as Russia is in UEFA, not much chance of FIFA awarding one cup to England and the next to Russia. I do think we're still the frontrunners for the '22 Cup, but I worry that Mexico's bid might split votes and give it to Australia. As for atmosphere, nothing could touch the Ireland-Italy match in Giants Stadium...

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Breaking -- I guess Torres' 2 goals sealed the deal for Liverpool. They've sent Roy Keane back to Tottenham....

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Oops -- I mean Robbie Keane. While I'm at it. Arshavin to Arsenal...Quaresma loaned to Chelsea.

Posted by: fischy | February 2, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

""it is noticeable, it is audible, and it's visible""

Gulati is quite the wordsmith . . .

The US deserves one of these, clearly. The sooner the better.

And by the way . . one of the proposed venues for Brasil 2014 is in Manaus . . the heart of the Amazon . . annual rainfall about 7 feet, June temps average in the high 80's

Posted by: delantero | February 2, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Keane was on the sled to London before Torres scored either of those goals. But that first one - a header in front of the near post that ended up closer to the far post - was pretty.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The following groups could host a more profitable (yes, FIFA cares) and higher attended world cup than almost any nation: the SEC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac 10, California, Texas, Florida... The us has more 70,000 seat stadiums than every other country in the world combined. The only concern is the travel. I'm with the group that thinks we are the backup for '10 and '14, and therefore probably slated for '22.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 2, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

joshuaostevens wrote, "The following groups could host a more profitable (yes, FIFA cares) and higher attended world cup than almost any nation:

if college football predicts the outcome, then:

the Big Ten: new trophy - Rimet's snow shovel.

the Big 12: automatic berth as host; wins each match by 6 goals, but loses in the final.

the Pac 10: host starts slowly but wins big. Loses in a semifinal shootout.

the SEC: final is in the Georgia Dome; drunken, belligerent Gator fans give it a European atmosphere.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Sweet little interview with Emilio, Burch, McT about heading to Florida and the upcoming season... Peep Emilio's hair.
http://www.behindthebadge.com/2009/02/video-off-to-bradenton.php

Posted by: DadRyan | February 2, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Hoping, and encouraging Kyle and these guys to step it up in the internet presence of the club!!!
Give em' a chance!
Anything to get us to live feeds of Open Cup matches is my goal...
Think about it.

Posted by: DadRyan | February 2, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Some of the best memories from my youth are from the five WC games I attended at RFK in 94. The holland, Saudi game was a something I will never forget. The Dutch fans in the upper deck stayed in the stands and sang for an hour after the game. My parents spent a lot of money on those tickets because they knew that the cup may only come to the USA once in my lifetime. I think that it is safe to say that I will see another world cup in America before I die. I can then spend an arm and a leg to take my as of yet to be born children. 2022 wil probably go to the USA. Australia will put up a good bid though. They have comparable venues to the usa, although many are set up for cricket or aussie rules football. Mexico will put up a fight but I think that FIFA is only going to give the event to countries that have the economic structure to pull off a world class event. We have the stadiums, the hotels, the airports, the security, and the money!!
England 2018, USA 2022.
I also think that the USA is back up for 2010 and 2014.

Posted by: jjfooty | February 3, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

"FIFA President Sepp Blatter has said that co-hosts will not be considered"

What the? Constantly changing the rules as he goes. It was fine for when he wanted/demanded there be an Asian World Cup.

Posted by: Reignking | February 2, 2009 4:09 PM
__________________________________________

That was a one-time experiment. Since then, It has been clear that FIFA (not just Blatter) is not interested in repeating the experiment. For instance, a joint bid by Libya and Tunisia for 2010 was rejected out of hand (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_World_Cup_hosts#2010_FIFA_World_Cup). That hardly counts as "constantly changing the rules."

Posted by: universityandpark | February 3, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Was D.C.'s new stadium at Poplar Point mentioned in the proposal?

Posted by: notafembot | February 2, 2009 6:34 PM
_________________________________________

Not likely. Only NFL/college pointyball stadiums that seat over 50K would be used, just as in '94.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 3, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

the SEC: final is in the Georgia Dome; drunken, belligerent Gator fans give it a European atmosphere.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | February 2, 2009 9:48 PM

...so does that make the Mountain West (and/or WAC) the CONCACAF of college football?

Posted by: SportzNut21 | February 3, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

The following groups could host a more profitable (yes, FIFA cares) and higher attended world cup than almost any nation: the SEC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac 10, California, Texas, Florida...

Posted by: joshuaostevens | February 2, 2009 9:09 PM

If only their playing surfaces were wide enough for international soccer. Remember MLS matches at Ohio State? What a shamockery. I've played on wider indoor pitches.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 3, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Here's an article, courtesy of Soccer America, that says that on this issue at least, the top echelons of FIFA are with Blatter, and that they do not have fond memories of Korea/Japan:

http://www.sportsfeatures.com/index.php?section=olympic-article-view&title=Red%20faces%20over%20World%20Cup%20bids&id=44805

Posted by: universityandpark | February 3, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

If only their playing surfaces were wide enough for international soccer. Remember MLS matches at Ohio State? What a shamockery. I've played on wider indoor pitches.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 3, 2009 12:16 PM
__________________________________________

Only venues that can accommodate a 75-yard-wide pitch would be considered, just as in '94. (Stanford was one of the '94 sites.) But that brings up another issue. A number of the stadiums in which NFL teams will be playing in '18 and '22 currently exist only as a gleam in someone's eye, including a possible Deadskins stadium on the RFK site. There is no guarantee that they will be built to FIFA specifications. A USA bid could focus on cities which currently have suitable venues, such as those that hosted matches in '94, and hope that those stadiums have not been torn down by '18 or '22, because, as I said, there are no guarantees with regard to their replacements.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 3, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, there will be plenty of stadiums to choose from for a US bid. And if I'm not mistaken, a lot of contemporary NFL stadiums are built with soccer in the back of their minds. Places like Houston and Phoenix/Glendale are great for soccer. FedEx was designed with soccer events in mind, but Snyder ruined it with his "dream seats". The Skins will be back on the RFK site before 2022 though, that's for sure.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 3, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Houston and Phoenix/Glendale should come as no surprise to anyone, as they function as homes away from home for the Mexico MNT, as well as clubs that have a substantial following north of the border. However, for many other cities, there has to be something more than the prospect of hosting a handful of WC matches every 30 years or so, and the occasional friendly against a high-profile opponent such as Argentina, to make you put any sort of priority on making sure your new stadium is up to WC standards.

Posted by: universityandpark | February 3, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

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