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U.S. Soccer withdraws from 2018 World Cup host consideration, will focus on 2022 bid efforts

The United States has withdrawn its bid to host the 2018 World Cup and will focus on efforts to stage the 2022 tournament, officials announced today. With FIFA, soccer's international governing body, expected to select a European bid for the '18 event, the move by the USA Bid Committee, first reported on the Insider Twitter page, was widely anticipated.

FIFA will choose the hosts for both World Cups on Dec. 2 in Zurich. England is the front-runner for 2018, with Russia posing the greatest challenge. Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium are also bidding. With a European nation assured of hosting that tournament, the United States is the favorite for 2022 in its competition with Qatar, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

"For some time, we have been in conversations with FIFA and UEFA [the European governing body] about the possibility of focusing only on the 2022 bidding process, an option we have made reference to many times," said Sunil Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee and president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. "We are confident this is in the best interests of the USA bid."

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said: "We have had an open and constructive dialogue with the USA bid for some time now, after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to stage the 2018 World Cup in Europe. The announcement by the USA bid to focus solely on the 2022 World Cup is therefore a welcome gesture, which is much appreciated by FIFA."

Next on FIFA's agenda: The 24-member executive committee will meet in Zurich on Oct. 28-29 to discuss the final voting process.

By Steve Goff  | October 15, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  FIFA, USA World Cup bid, USSF  
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Comments

I'm guessing this will be pretty big news in England.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

The Fed sold out to Diamond Jack Warner on the whole qualification process...if he can't deliver the votes for 2022, he's even more worthless than he is corrupt.

Posted by: EdTheRed | October 15, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Unless anti-American politics get in the way, have to believe a 2022 bid is a done deal. Japan/SK just had a World Cup in 2002, soccer is less prominent in Australia than it is in the U.S., believe it or not, and Qatar -- are you kidding me?

Posted by: jofij | October 15, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

"Unless anti-American politics get in the way, have to believe a 2022 bid is a done deal."

I'm getting the same sense. Some of the stuff that's been going on lately -- the CONCACAF qualifying overhaul, the weird November trip for a South Africa friendly, etc. -- all seems like parts of a bigger behind-the-scenes puzzle to wrangle votes.

Plus China is apparently putting its hat in the ring for 2026, and would surely be a shoo-in -- which would pretty much nix the prospects for other Asian federations in 2022 (Australia and Qatar).

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

2022? My kids will be in college and I won't be able to afford tickets. Maybe there is an investment fund (WC22) to help me achieve my goal of buying tickets?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Kate Markgraf has retired after 201 caps.

Posted by: OWNTF | October 15, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Oh screw it! I'll cash in their 529s.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 15, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Thank you Kate (Sobrero) Markgraf.

My favorite memory of her is at Jack Kent Cooke in '99. She chased down balls played through or over our defense. The German forwards could not match her speed and never got on the end of those passes.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | October 15, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

My oldest boy will be 21 that summer. He's buying the first round (after I buy tickets, hotel, jerseys....).

Posted by: tcbannon | October 15, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing this will be pretty big news in England.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 12:06 PM

They've never been worried about us in relation to 2018. Only Russia poses them a threat.

I'd say this announcement comes with no surprise at all.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 15, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"They've never been worried about us in relation to 2018."

That's right. But nevertheless I'm guessing that this -- our formal departure from the race -- will be pretty big news in England.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, I know it will be big news, because it's now right up top at the BBC site -- along with the subsequent development that England has pulled out of the 2022 race.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

It's also on the front of the sports sections at the Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Any concern that FIFA will opt against two consecutive Anglophone hosts?

Posted by: iammrben1 | October 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

eh

Posted by: Reignking | October 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This move, combined with what Sunil Gulati said after the Colombia game, signals to me that the US has been pretty much assured the 2022 WC. The U.S. fan showing in South Africa certainly helped, and I doubt that FIFA will spend much, if any, time worrying about two consecutive English speaking host nations since they are in different continents. That may be an argument advanced by Russia for 2018, but I suspect that England is now a lock for the 2018 Cup. I'm guessing their motto won't be "go Green".

Posted by: orangeskin | October 15, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

This move, combined with what Sunil Gulati said after the Colombia game, signals to me that the US has been pretty much assured the 2022 WC.

Posted by: orangeskin | October 15, 2010 1:25 PM |

----------------------------------------------------------

Wow. That's reading a whole lot out of nothing. This is a dog bites man story. Totally expected, because the 2018 Cup to Europe really was a done deal. Every other non-European bidder for 2018 has already made the same declaration Gulati did. Were Japan, Australia, Qatar etc., each "pretty much assured" the vote for '22 host?

That the USA was the last country to make this move does suggest we're probably the lead contender, but I think you're reading way too much into this if you think this means a deal is already done.

As for the English-speaking thing -- what about 3 in a row? England, the USA and Australia? If the USA gets the '22 nod, you can safely assume that the '30 Cup will be reserved for Europe (probably Russia). This means an Asian nation would be the logical choice for 2026. Maybe Australia isn't very Asian, but its a great place to host. Almost as good as the USA -- maybe better, if you throw in weather that isn't brutally hot. How cold are Australian nights in June?

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Australia isn't very Asian"

Well, Australia is completely Asian, as far as FIFA confederations go.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

BTTW -- Nice scoop, Goff. You''re still da man.

@I-270 -- The 529s are for college.... along with Pell grants and other federal loan supports, assuming the Repugs haven't crushed all of these programs by then. The 2nd mortgage is for World Cup tickets.

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

It's also on the front of the sports sections at the Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Mail.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 1:04 PM

Yes, it is now about a millionth the size of the Liverpool/NESV buyout story.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Australia isn't very Asian, but its a great place to host. Almost as good as the USA -- maybe better, if you throw in weather that isn't brutally hot. How cold are Australian nights in June?

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 3:30 PM

Time zones are the real key - so a WC in Australia wouldn't be in Asia, but it would be in a friendly time zone for Chinese (and Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc) viewers. So FIFA could get the Australian venues and hospitality with Chinese viewers (hurts European viewing though). You can't get an easier to manage three World Cups than England, US and Australia - with their big sports event experience.

US World Cups are pretty good for global viewing too. Early evening here = late night in Europe and morning in key parts of Asia. Middle of the night for low viewing parts of the world - Central Asia and Indian Subcontinent.

Posted by: Kev29 | October 15, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, it is now about a millionth the size of the Liverpool/NESV buyout story."

Sigh. And it always would have been. Which is why I wrote that it would be "pretty big" news, not "massive 30-point headline stop-the-presses" news.

At any rate, I wasn't out to prompt a meta-journalism discussion, but rather to simply note that this would be of consequence to the English. And sure enough, it is: We officially announced we're out of 2018, and they followed it by officially announcing they're out of 2022.

Posted by: BChris | October 15, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

So I'll be in Brazil in 2014, have an excuse to return to England in 2018' and then use my by then needed walker to celebrate the return of the World Cup to the US in 2022.

Posted by: seahawkdad | October 15, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

US is assured of nothing in 2022. There are two ways to get a WC, one is to be a soccer/football nation and another to be an exotic location hosting first time. Which one of these is the US? The answer is neither, so for 2022 my bets are Australia, Qatar, then US.

Posted by: lespaw | October 16, 2010 12:59 AM | Report abuse

My recollection is that FIFA was overjoyed by how the USA handled its WC. Toss in the fact that there are now ten or more new world-class NFL stadiums built in the interim, and I'd think our bid looks pretty solid.

The Aussies throw terrific Olympics, but I don't know that they've got the same number and variety of top venues. Japan & SK have hosted too recently. And agreeance with Qatar -- really? (But they do host an awesome new F1 race.)

I think the time differences work to our favor, too. Early afternoon games in the east coast are early evening games in Europe.

What will be interesting is to see if the tradition of holding the final in the host country's capital city will be honored this time around. Sharon Pratt Kelly muffed that, letting the game go the fracking Rose Bowl.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | October 16, 2010 10:27 PM | Report abuse

@I-270 -- The 529s are for college.... along with Pell grants and other federal loan supports, assuming the Repugs haven't crushed all of these programs by then. The 2nd mortgage is for World Cup tickets.

Posted by: fischy | October 15, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Pretty hilarious, there, fischy. Think you might have been on the wrong thread when you posted?
:/

Posted by: ch3k | October 17, 2010 12:56 AM | Report abuse

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