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U.S. Soccer says it would be reluctant to bid again to host World Cup

October 09, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Sunil Gulati said factors other than soccer swayed voters to award the 2022 tournament to the oil-rich state of Qatar.
Sunil Gulati said factors other than soccer swayed voters to award the 2022… (Elise Amendola / Associated…)

The U.S. Soccer Federation, still angry over being passed over in the bidding for the 2022 World Cup, said Wednesday it is unlikely to try to bring the sport's premier event back to North America unless significant changes are made in way host countries are chosen.

Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. federation and a member of FIFA's executive committee, said factors other than soccer swayed voters to award the 2022 tournament to the oil-rich state of Qatar, which spent lavishly in an attempt to raise its global profile. But in doing so those voters ignored FIFA's own warning that hostile summer temperatures in the Middle East would likely force organizers to move the event to the winter, wreaking havoc with league schedules around the world.

"The rules, the procedures, need to be very different than they are now," Gulati told a conference in London, according to the Associated Press. "It's a unique situation that the Olympics and the World Cup have become so important to countries that nation states are essentially bidding, it's no longer bid committees.

"That's a very difficult situation for countries like England or the United States, frankly, which operate differently. We are not going to conduct a foreign policy based on hosting a World Cup."

Sites for the 2018 World Cup, which will be played in Russia, and the 2022 tournament, the first to be played in the Middle East, were chosen by an executive committee in 2010, when the World Cup went to Africa for the first time. But that process was later shown to be riddled with corruption. For the U.S. to bid again Gulati says he will need to assurances that voters will follow the technical inspection reports that were ignored in the case of Qatar.

"Would we be interested in bidding for 2026? The procedures would need to be very different to what they are now," he said. "If the critical issue is taking it to new lands, then tell us in advance because we won't bother.

"The rules need to be clearer and tighter. And the process needs to be better. If you are stepping on to a field of play, you [must] know what the rules are."

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