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US Soccer Federation Open to Hosting FA Community Shield, And Maybe the 39th Game

A variety of English newspapers are reporting today that the United States Soccer Federation is set to launch a rival bid against England’s Football Association for the 2018 World Cup.  This comes as the England national team is set to host the US in a friendly at Wembley later in the day, and four days from a friendly at fellow CONCACAF nation Trinidad & Tobago.  The trip to the island nation has been seen as an attempt by the FA to try to get in the good graces of CONCACAF head and FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner ahead of the bidding process.

However, the articles contain an interesting quote from the USSF’s President Sunil Gulati about another subject; the possibility of hosting one of the FA’s own events, the Community Shield, as well as the Premier League’s much talked 39th game.  Gulati told reporters “I don’t think the principle is a foolish one. We have to follow Fifa guidance and in the past when countries wanted to play official games in the US we have declined. We have hosted the Italian equivalent of the Community Shield in 1993 and that would be very different to holding a Premier League game. We would consider it. The message about the 39th game was released the wrong way.”

The USSF is scheduled to meet with Premier League officials during their current trip to London.  The Italian version of the Community Shield, the Supercoppa Italiana, has been hosted twice in the United States: in 1993 at RFK Stadium and in 2003 at Giants Stadium.

This isn’t the first time the idea of the preseason event being held outside the UK has been talked about, but this does make the United States an interested candidate should such an excursion be made.  It also shows that, for all the negativity generated when the plan was first unveiled, the Premier League could still find some national allies in their fight to add international matches to the league’s schedule.

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  2. Bishopville Red

    May 28, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Community shield really doesn’t seem like much of a bargaining chip to me. A stodgy preseason friendly with a meaningless trophy Sounds like just about every other preseason tournament, but with fewer clubs involved.

    The FA owe a bootload of money for Wembley. I’m surprised to see them float an idea that would take a fixture out of their shiny new building.

  3. AtlantaPompey

    May 28, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Ah, international politics…

    England goes to T&T to play a game for the sole purpose of lining Jack Warner’s pockets. Do you think they want his support for 2018?

    Now Gulati announces that we will apply for WC2018, but we’d be open to supporting the 39th game. Bargaining Chip played.

    Russia wants the Euros in 2016 or the 2018 WC. In exchange, they’ve said they would support the 39th game, and support England in their bid for whichever one Russia doesn’t want. Russia will be a world power in club football in the next ten years given the amount of money they have and how well their economy is doing. Can you say FairTax?

    Given that both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be awarded in March of 2011, the deals will be flying. One of those will be in Europe and one somewhere else. Should be interesting…

  4. The Gaffer

    May 28, 2008 at 1:29 am


    Very interesting article. The FA must be thinking that they can use the Community Shield as a bargaining chip with the USSF. “Allow us to win the bid for World Cup 2018 and you can host the Community Shield in the U.S. for a couple of years.”

    Hopefully the USSF won’t be so stupid to do that.

    The Gaffer

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