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CONCACAF president sets World Cup bar at knockout rounds; talks US/Canada bid

May 13, 2014, 10:35 AM EDT

Jeffrey Webb, Eugenio Figueredo AP

ProSoccerTalk was part of a conference call with CONCACAF president and FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb on Tuesday morning, and the regional leader spoke on everything from the Gold Cup to a shared US/Canada World Cup bid for 2026 to what he expects from CONCACAF teams at this summer’s World Cup.

Some highlights:

What are the chances the U.S. swoops in to host the 2022 World Cup in place of Qatar?

“I would say zero because obviously the decision has been made. Until of course there is some evidence, obviously there have been a lot of allegations, but until there is something proven I would say zero.”

On the 2026 World Cup coming to the United States:

- They are looking for “a CONCACAF location for 2026, not just US”

On a World Cup hosted by the U.S. and Canada in 2026:

“Obviously it’s not going to be my personal decision, but it’s possible. Both countries are connected and FIFA did it in the past in 2002 with Japan and Korea.”

On bidding for 2026:

“A decision has to be made by 2017. If you work backwards from there, the process should start in 2015 from a bidding a standpoint and then a final decision with the countries.”

On the Gold Cup:

– Goals are to make the tournament as big and world-renowned/watched as possible.

– “We’ve invested a lot in the Gold Cup in the last years from quality… and broadcasting standpoint, and that’s all aimed at making the Gold Cup bigger.”

– U.S. has done tremendous job as host but “No one will ever convince me that another country doesn’t have the right to host the Gold Cup. We have to find that balance of sustainability. Could we have a Gold Cup in Canada, or places like Costa Rica? The Gold Cup for us is for a revenue standpoint as well.”

What he’d like to see from soccer in the United States:

“I would like to see soccer more from a grassroots level, more from an accessibility level, more from the inner cities.”

On what the goals of CONCACAF for the countries participating in the 2014 World Cup:

“For us, it’s about getting out of the group stage. We’re going to have an interesting debate coming up after the World Cup in regards to representation at the World Cup, if we’re going to get four spots. For us, I believe that’s our standard. You look at the teams that have qualified, in terms of their technical staff, it’s obviously world class. We’re looking for two teams to get into the Round of 16, and hopefully into the quarterfinals.”

It’s easy to forget that the 3.5 World Cup slots up for grabs could become a smaller number in the future, so States fans need to get on board with Costa Rica, Honduras and even Mexico’s upset chances this summer in Brazil.

What do you make of Webb’s other statements? Should the Gold Cup depart the U.S. from time-to-time, or is it a destination tournament for CONCACAF? Would you like to see the States and Canada share a World Cup? Would a shared bid increase the chances of a North American tournament?

  1. yankeefootball - May 13, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    Because of the money involved in each event, World Cup and Gold Cup, the United States will always be the place to mine the riches. The good news is that every CONCACAF nation has a built in fan base in the States, so drawing isn’t a huge problem for the Gold Cup. The same can be said for the World Cup as well. Many of the smaller nations do not have the needed infrastructure to host a mid-level tournament like the Gold Cup and may not be destinations that will draw visitors. So, the profit will likely be the motive. While, I like our northern neighbors, there is no need to share a World Cup with Canada. The 1994 Cup was the most profitable and best attended in history. Plus, the added layer of going through customs for travel back and forth between the two is a bit of a turn off. I do agree that the CONCACAF teams need very good showings into the knockout rounds to keep getting the number of spots in the tournament. As we saw just the other day, the US is the only team from CONCACAF in the top 18 in the world. Too many teams from too few qualifiers makes it hard to keep justifying the spots when top Euro Nations get left out because their qualifying is so difficult.

  2. simonbruyn - May 13, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    This may sound totally insane, so feel free to pelt me with insults…but I think Canada has a better shot at a solo bid then if the US went solo. The rotation is such that they’ll look to CONCACAF in 2026 and I’ve heard that Canada won alot of good faith with FIFA by hosting the u20 Women’s world cup and the Women’s world cup (seriously, look at who else bid). They’ve clearly been playing the game and their stadium infrastructure is very easy to scale to a world cup. Compared to Quatar or even Brazil, the nation is more than up to snuff to host it and don’t underestimate general anti-american sentiment across the globe. Seriously I think they would have a better shot than people think.

  3. Comrade23 - May 13, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    I stopped listening when he referred to the “allegations” regarding Qatar. These are facts. BBC Panorama have footage and Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch can provide plenty of actual evidence. And given the “allegations” about his predecessor, I’m as likely to spend time thinking about remarks from Webb as I am outright lies from Jack Warner. #FifaOut

  4. braxtonrob - May 14, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    Go CONCACAF!

  5. bnwpnw - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Why bother investing in a bid when it’s all fixed in advance anyway? Just slip Sepp a truckload of oily cash and — bang! — bidding process over.

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