April 15, 2009
MORE THAN A GAME
Obama letter supports U.S. World Cup Bid
President Barack Obama has sent a letter to FIFA supporting the USA bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 tournament.
|U.S. Soccer Preisdent Sunil Gulati received the support of President Barack Obama in the U.S. bid to host the World Cup.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
In it, President Obama wrote: “Hosting another successful World Cup is important for the continued growth of the sport in the United States. And it is important to me personally,” President Obama wrote in his letter. “As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, 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.”
“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe,” President Obama added. “That is why this bid is about much more than a game. 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.”
This Friday, April 17, is the deadline for stadiums and potential host cities to inform the USA Bid Committee of their interest in playing host to FIFA World Cup matches in 2018 or 2022. The USA Bid Committee last week mailed letters to 70 stadium operators, as well as public officials in more than 50 metropolitan markets, in a first step toward preparing a formal bid to play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022.
“We are pleased to have the support of President Obama as we look to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “With the President’s support, our goal of bringing the global community here to watch the largest sporting event in the world in 2018 or 2022 will no doubt be strengthened. We look forward to working with the White House as we continue to develop our bid for the World Cup.”
The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.
FIFA has set May 2010 as the deadline for countries to submit their final paperwork to play host to the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will then study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.
Although early in the bid process, the possibility of hosting the World Cup has already generated significant national interest and enthusiastic support.
“I hope my family will have the opportunity to join millions of other families from around the world to watch soccer’s pre-eminent event here in the United States,” President Obama concluded in his letter. “I strongly support the work of the USSF to bring the Cup back to the United States, and I look forward to working with FIFA to make it the most successful World Cup competition in history.”
The 70 stadiums identified by the USA Bid Committee as candidates to host World Cup matches in 2018 or 2022 include National Football League stadiums, college football stadiums, and domed and retractable roof stadiums. The 70 stadiums represent 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.