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April 23, 2009
Gillette Stadium says yes to World Cup

NEW YORK – Gillette Stadium could have a shot at hosting World Cup games in 2018 or 2022. The stadium in Foxborough was among the 58 venues in 49 markets to confirm interest to the USA bid committee in hosting games. Gillette is one of two stadiums currently housing a Major League Soccer team to express interest. Yale Bowl in New Haven, Conn. also confirmed interest in possibly hosting games.

“We are very pleased by the impressive response, and are certainly gratified by the enthusiasm and thorough understanding everyone has shown for this unique opportunity,” said David Downs, the Executive Director for the USA Bid Committee. “The benefits to a host nation, and particularly to the venue cities where the matches could be played, are numerous and lasting. Tourism, economic impact, meaningful global exposure and a legacy of being at the center of a FIFA World Cup™ competition await host venues and cities if we are fortunate enough to stage the tournament here in 2018 or 2022.”

Earlier this month, the USA Bid Committee mailed letters to public officials and executives representing 70 stadiums in more than 50 metropolitan markets. The letters outlined FIFA’s bid process and criteria for venue selection, which includes the candidate host nation providing a minimum of 12 stadiums capable of seating 40,000 or more spectators. Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match.

In 1994, the U.S. used nine stadiums to host the FIFA World Cup™, which then featured a 24-team and 52-match format compared to today’s field of 32 nations competing in 64 matches. Despite the smaller field and schedule of matches in 1994, the United States set an overall attendance mark of 3,587,538, a record that broke the previous tournament mark by more than one million fans and still stands today.

Representatives from the Las Vegas, Nev. and the Raleigh-Durham markets, as well as Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah – none of them included in the original list of 70 venue and market candidates – have requested to be considered as hosts in 2018 or 2022. Twelve stadiums declined to be considered as potential candidates while conversations continue with representatives of two stadiums as local officials there explore various venue feasibility issues before confirming their interest.

“We will soon begin contacting all venue and metro market representatives on a one-on-one basis to ensure that their candidacy is in accordance with FIFA criteria,” Downs said. “We are looking forward to working with all the parties involved as we continue this exciting bid process.”

All thirty of the 31 stadiums in the National Football League have confirmed interest. Candlestick Park, home of the San Francisco 49ers, was not listed as a candidate.

More than 20 stadiums have confirmed interest that are either on college campuses or serve as the primary venue for NCAA Division I college football teams.

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 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.

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