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US Bid for 2018 World Cup Strong


The decision by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) to bid on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups could possibly be seen as a blow to the attempts to coronate England as host of the 2018 event. It’s no small irony that England’s major competition may be from two other Anglo nations: The United States and Australia.

Most Australians and many Americans have a general affinity for all things English. The majority of multi generations Americans can trace their lineage to the British Isles and should naturally want to support an English bid. The popularity of the Premier League in the United States owes itself as much to a common language and a common heritage as to it does to good football. I can speak for myself and several of my friends who in college began following the infant Premier League closely even though at the time Continental football was considered superior. The issues of language and familiarity with English culture made it much easier to understand, as did the number of former NASL players that I was familiar with playing leading roles in the English game.

That’s why in many ways it is painful that the United States has decided to compete against the English bid for the 2018 World Cup. England is the home of world football and arguably still houses the best football on the planet. But at the same time, the United States and Australia both offer benefits that England cannot possibly replicate in 2018.

Many in the world football press which is heavily based around London have attempted to create inevitability around England’s 2018 bid. But following what may prove to be failed World Cups in 2010 and 2014, FIFA may opt for a safe choice. Why is England not a safe choice?

1)      England does not have enough large stadiums. This was not a problem for France, but they hosted the event right after the money maker that was USA 94′. The World Cups in South Africa and Brazil may very well be debacles, and FIFA could well need to generate revenue to replenish the coffers in 2018.

2)      Pitch size in English Stadiums save Wembley tend to be on the low end of the FIFA Regulations. Much like South Africa whose World Cup in 2010 could be marred by congested midfields and little flank play. Ironically this situation in 2010 should benefit England’s National Team who could realistically win their first World Cup since 1966.

3)      While completely undeserved, England still has a reputation for Hooliganism abroad. The authorities in England have been exemplary in their efforts to clean up the violence that long surrounded English Football. But when you speak to football fans in various locales across the globe they still associate English fans and to a lesser extent Italian fans with violence. Again, this is a perception that does not mirror reality. The reality is that football related violence is on the increase in United States and is almost unheard of in today’s England.

4)       A lack of major cities to host games. England’s bid can take comfort from France hosting the World Cup in 1998 with many of the same issues. However, as a destination where football fans from across the globe will want to travel to enjoy the World Cup and see major attractions as well, Australia and the United States again trump England. It must be assumed that as many of England’s potential venues as possible will be centered around Greater London, traditional Lancashire (Manchester and Liverpool) and perhaps the Northeast. On the other hand the United States and Australia can provide regional balance and different areas to host the games, and large cities that can absorb the number of visitors. Again England can counter stating that France held a semi successful World Cup in 1998 with many of the same limitations.

Sunil Gulati, the President of the USSF impressed English journalists last May before the US-England friendly at Wembley with his presentation as to the United States viability to bid in 2018. Previously the press based around London had ridiculed the US bid editorializing among other things about American Football lines on the pitch and Americans not understand Football. Perhaps England’s failure to qualify for USA 94 had allowed the English press to forget the success of that World Cup.

After meeting with Gulati it was revealed to the English, how deadly serious the United States was about 2018, and how strong the bid would be. The United States has developed its own indigenous football culture since the 1994 event, something that will be on full display next week in Columbus, a town whose only prior sporting culture was based around college athletics. The English media may continue to downplay the United States chances to win the right to host the 2018 World Cup, but chances are very great that FIFA will ignore this and opt for brining the world’s biggest sporting event back to the US.

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  1. John

    January 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Money ,Money and money I think FIFA will have to give either 2018 or 2022 to the US because they need the money and everybody knows everthing runs on money, forget about all the other reasons the world drives on money

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  3. Pingback: Topics about Stadiums | US Bid for 2018 World Cup Strong

  4. Andrew

    February 7, 2009 at 4:35 am

    I hate to mention the elephant in the room that everyone is avoiding, but the US just hosted the WC in 1994. Ok, that seems a long time ago but the US is bidding against countries that have never hosted it, or hosted it many many years ago such as england in 1966. The other issue working against the US is that CONCACAF only has 3 votes on the FIFA executive committee, and there is another bid from the region from Mexico that could further dilute the vote. These issues need to be worked out and countered before the US can seriously be considered a chance for 2018 or 2022

  5. Pingback: US Bid for 2018 World Cup Strong | Major League Soccer Talk |

  6. Bishopville Red

    February 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    As much as WC 94 was a financial success, there were concerns about a number of issues, most notably the amount of travel for fans, as teams moved from locale to locale to watch their team. Romania – Detroit – California – Detroit. Ireland – NY – Orlando – NY.

    The other thing that works for England is the TV rights deals. Matches in Prime time Europe are optimal. Japan was a disaster because of the time difference. South Africa is only a couple of hours off most of Europe. Mexico and USA world Cups had all sorts of heat issues because they played games for prime time Euro TV = dead heat of the day in NA.

    Finally, I don’t know much about Sunil Gulati, but if he’s a real “stand up” quality guy, then I doubt he’s in Jack Warner’s good books (totally a guess, but if he IS in Warner’s pocket, he’s no good guy!). If he doesn’t have Warner’s hand up his ass, this bid is going nowhere fast.


  7. Jonathan

    February 3, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    The “affinity” with everything English is something that American football fans need to have less of. The national team has been molded after that mess. Too many US football fans drink the EPL Kool Aid. In addition, the English are quite abrasive and ready to take a potshot at US football any chance they can get.

    With that reason, I hope they don’t get the bid. Anyplace, but England.

  8. Pingback: The road to the 2018 World Cup « View from the Terraces

  9. rob

    February 3, 2009 at 4:36 am

    A few other points against england hosting 2018. The fans are hooligan animals, the country is the ugliest and least cultured in europe, the food sucks, the weather is horrible, and the women look like boris becker.

  10. Jason D

    February 3, 2009 at 3:55 am

    I hope that by 2018 MLS will be the strongest league in the region; the run up to another World Cup in the U.S. could certainly aid in that regard. The tournament itself could make MLS a major American sports league, with coverage on par with that of the NHL or NBA. Let’s hope it happens.

  11. free bet

    February 3, 2009 at 3:32 am

    94 initiated the MLS..will 18 solidify it?

  12. Phillip

    February 3, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Hooliganism is alive and well in England… look at all the chair and coin throwings going on in stadiums… They racist and homophobic chants coming out of grounds on a weekly basis.

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