Highlights from USSF President Sunil Gulati's teleconference with reporters:
On whether the USA has a realistic shot to host the 2018 World Cup or more likely 2022.....
"We're still very much bidding for 2018 and 2022. There are a number of people with the [FIFA] executive committee, certainly the European members, that think Europe should go first. I don't think there were any changes coming out of the meetings we had with [FIFA's Sepp Blatte this weekr] and anything he said subsequently."
On eventually narrowing the list of potential USA venues for a World Cup.....
"We've got really an extraordinary wealth of choices. ... It is impossible to predict at this time how we are going to get down to FIFA's requirement that no more than 18 recommendations [in the initial bid]. We might try to convince them.....
to let us have a couple more since we have so many extraordinary choices."
On the keen interest expressed by cities.....
"We are getting a receptivity that is very different than the one we had in 1986 or 1987 [for the 1994 World Cup]. Having been part of that effort back then, in many cases we'd have to explain what the World Cup was, when it was, how many games it was. In this case, that is a non-issue. We have got civic leaders, stadium leaders, team owners, politicians very interested in trying to bring the World Cup to their city. People understand what the World Cup is about."
Reflecting on the Gold Cup final.....
"To lose by that score to a rival is, of course, disappointing, one that is felt by me, by our players, by our coaching staff, by our fans. At the same time, most people recognize that the only overlap of the players available on Sunday from the Confederations Cup was Heath Pearce, who hadn't played in South Africa. That result is very, very disappointing and painful, even more so when we have the FIFA president sitting with us [at Giants Stadium] and who saw us play in the Confederations Cup. In great measure, we get a chance for redemption very quickly, something you don't normally get except in a home-and-away series. In this case, I am glad it is not an aggregate score issue. ... The group that played in the Gold Cup, for 5 1/2 games, did very well. I think a lot of people were surprised that we had that much depth and did as well as they did. There were a bad 30 minutes -- a very bad 30 minutes -- but I don't think it reverses or undoes the real progress we've shown in June and July."
Reaction to Mexico scheduling the World Cup qualifier for a weekday afternoon.....
"We understand they have the right to schedule it for whenever it fits, so we'll go the day before and play at 3 o'clock. I'm not sure if we were picking the time that we would choose 3 in Mexico City, but I'm pretty sure if they could choose a venue to play at, they would choose not to play in Columbus for our home game [in February]."
The status of German-American Jermaine Jones and Mexican-American Edgar Castillo.....
"I believe all the paperwork has been submitted to FIFA for [Jones's] change of eligibility and I'm not sure in the past couple days if the final paperwork has been submitted for Edgar Castillo. There's nothing really new to add when [they can play] -- I guess after October 2. it's up to Bob Bradley when to bring them in for a look and possible participation."
On the new FIFA rule allowing players to change affiliations.....
"We've got some concerns with the rule change that was passed, in general terms, in either direction [of the player movement]. We are likely to benefit by it more often than the alternative, but the thought that a player could play in the Olympics and theoretically play in a World Cup qualifying game a month later for another country is contrary to really the integrity of the national team set-up. It is permissible under the rules and we will certainly play by the rules, but my guess is that the rule will get looked at again in the next year or two by the FIFA Congress."
On the big crowds for foreign clubs this summer and the lower turnouts for MLS in general.....
"Sixty-five thousand people watched Chelsea play, but they watched them play the Seattle Sounders. When it's all said and done, the biggest crowd of the summer will be 90,000 to watch Barcelona play, but they'll play the L.A. Galaxy. My guess is that the second- or third-biggest crowd will be to watch Real Madrid play, but to play against D.C. United. ... It's not a question of watching the Harlem Globetrotters play. Our teams are getting more respect. Clearly we are not getting those attendances at MLS games, and it is an important question as to how we can tap into what is clearly an audience for high-level international games. It's a little bit chasing stars if we think most teams around the world would draw those sorts of attendances. If we were to have a tournament next summer with Stuttgart, Aston Villa, Olympique Marseille and pick another team, I don't think we'd have those same sorts of attendances. The teams that have come are two of the glory teams in Real Madrid and Barcelona, two or three of the top English and Italian teams, really the best teams in the world and biggest stars."
On discussions with Blatter about changing the MLS calendar to fall-to-spring.....
"In principle, both [MLS Commissioner Don Garber] and I agree that would be a good thing, but we've also explained to the FIFA president that temperatures in Chicago are not like the temperatures in London or Paris in January. They're more like Helsinki or Moscow. So the challenges are a little bit different. ... We can foresee being on a European-type calendar, but also pointing out that not everyone plays on that calendar, primarily for those weather reasons."
July 28, 2009; 5:35 PM ET
Categories: 2010 World Cup , Gold Cup , U.S. men's national team , USA World Cup bid , USSF
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