October 16, 2010: The committee dedicated to bringing the FIFA World Cup to the U.S. has withdrawn its bid to host the event in 2018, instead deciding to focus its time, financial resources and energies on securing the World Cup in 2022.
With the U.S, out, four European groups are now vying for the 2018 World Cup: England, Russia and combined bids from Belgium/Netherlands and Spain/Portugal.
The U.S., which last hosted the event in 1994, now will be seeking the 2022 World Cup along with Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar. FIFA is scheduled to name the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in December.
The USA Bid Committee said the decision came "after several months of careful deliberation with FIFA, UEFA and members of the USA Bid Board of Directors."
“For some time we have been in conversations with FIFA and UEFA about the possibility of focusing only on the 2022 bidding process, an option we have made reference to many times,” Sunil Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer, said in a statement. “We are confident this is in the best interests of the USA Bid. We wanted to make the announcement now – still 48 days before the final decision – in order to make our intentions clear during the last part of our campaign. This also enables FIFA to finalize the selection procedures during its upcoming Executive Committee meeting.”
This past October, the USA Bid Committee released an independent study that estimates a "conservative domestic economic impact" of $5 billion if the U.S. is chosen to host the FIFA World Cup. The findings indicate that the "total economic impact projected for any one host city ranges from approximately $400 million to $600 million at today’s dollar value."
Eighteen domestic cities are represented in the U.S. bid as potential hosts of FIFA World Cup matches: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Tampa and Washington D.C.
Stadiums with a minimum capacity of 80,000 are required by FIFA for consideration to play host to the Opening Match and Final Match. The U.S. used stadiums in nine cities when it hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Among the sites on the list are the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, outside of Dallas (100,000), Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (93,607), the Rose Bowl (92,000+), FedEx Field in Washington. D.C. (91,704) and the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. (82,000).
The FIFA Executive Committee is scheduled to meet in Zurich Oct. 28-29, with an agenda that includes finalizing the voting process for the selection of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
The 2014 World Cup will be held in in Brazil. The 2010 World Cup was in South Africa. FIFA rules mandate that the competition cannot be held on the same continent on two successive occasions.
“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 FIFA World Cup in Europe,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. “The announcement today by the USA Bid to focus solely on the 2022 FIFA World Cup is therefore a welcome gesture which is much appreciated by FIFA.”
Members of the USA Bid Committee include former President Bill Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger, U.S. National Men's soccer star Landon Donovan, former U.S. National Women's soccer star Mia Hamm, Wasserman Media Group chairman/CEO Casey Wasserman, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, New England Patriots (NFL) and Revolution (MLS) owner Robert Kraft, director Spike Lee, and actors Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Drew Carey.
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