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FIFA secretary general says US could bid on 2026 World Cup, calls support “staggering”

Jul 2, 2014, 4:17 PM EDT

Huge crowds turned up at Soldier Field in Chicago as watch parties become a huge part of the summer. Huge crowds turned up at Soldier Field in Chicago as watch parties become a huge part of the summer.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has come out in support of United States Soccer, marveling at the fans and saying the country could bid on the 2026 World Cup.

Valcke, a Frenchman, is the latest force to take notice of the groundswell the 2014 World Cup has had on soccer in America despite Tuesday’s 1-2 loss to Belgium in the Round of 16.

Speaking to Brazil newspaper Globo, Valcke expressed his awe over the excitement in the US:

What we see in the United States is staggering. The audience is unprecedented, more than the NBA.

The country has the largest level of youth soccer in the world, with 20 million young people playing.

I think after 2022, they have an interest in hosting the 2026 World Cup.

Valcke’s statements were echoed by FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, who believed the high level of soccer causing the excitement, noting, “[t]he level of interest in the USA is very high.”

The first and only World Cup hosted by the United States came in 1994, a tournament that saw Brazil crowned champions. Since then the US bid to host the 2022 tournament but lost to Qatar. And while many have their fingers crossed that climate and human rights issues there will result in a possible change of venue stateside, the more feasible scenario is as host in 2026.

[Related: CONCACAF president talks US/Canada World Cup bid]

US Soccer president Sunil Gulati has previously noted that the United States will only seriously consider going for the 2026 World Cup if the bidding process is “more transparent and fair”.

  1. nlazar33 - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:24 PM

    After US Soccer’s experience bidding for 2022, I doubt they will enter. FIFA shot themselves in the foot with the Qatar scandal.

    • jaxfootballing - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      Not sure how the Qatar bribery scandal might influence a revote of host country for 2022 – but, unfortunately, as the article states “the more feasible scenario is as host in 2026”

      How Qatar will hold onto it is only possible because of corruption in FIFA – no news there really. But the amount of corporate sponsorship pressure that is about to be placed on those guys strictly on needing to play in winter months (which conflicts with NFL playoffs mainly) is going to start percolating pretty soon. Hopefully, it comes to a quick boil (everyone comes to their senses – revote) and we can avoid the disaster that it is likely to be. Sh*t – it would be great to have it back in US asap but I am OK with Australia/New Zeland combo like Japan/South Korea. Anywhere else in Middle East is fine but you run into the same heat related/winter scheduling concerns.

      A rebid is what needs to happen – but prospect of losing $$$$$ is going to have to sway the FIFA illuminati to do the right thing.

    • cfutch - Jul 2, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      its easy to say that, but the prospect of having the world’s biggest tournament in the US with all the money to be made, I highly doubt Gulati will still be holding a grudge. Money usually trumps pride and I’m sure Gulati will swallow his to make money

      • reformed2012 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        I would say wait for the centennial edition we would have a bigger chance of challenging the title.

  2. cartrasuma - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    We all know hookers and blow buy world cups.

    The richest country in the world should have no problem outbidding the other suitors. Maybe Blagojevich can chair the committee.

  3. pak152 - Jul 2, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    how about just giving us 2018 and 2022 instead. they’ll get a huge profit and they won’t have to worry about much

  4. sw19womble - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    The US getting two World Cups in the past 30 years, while England has been waiting for the past 50 years… well, the quote was from a Frenchman, so no surprises there. 😉

    • tariencole - Aug 6, 2014 at 5:12 PM

      England hasn’t even had the preferred UEFA bid. It’s not the US’ obligation to wait on England to get a bid its own Federation can support.

      By rights, the US should’ve had the 2018 WC, but they broke rotation a cycle early to pander to UEFA.

  5. paperlions - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:14 PM

    Who is going to go to Qatar to watch the World Cup? 120F during the day? Sounds great! What other tourist options are around when a match isn’t going on? Anyone want to guess as to the local attitudes toward alcohol and drugs….or, you know, women’s rights (or human rights in general)?

    The point being, what an unappealing destination for such an event for fans from a majority of the countries that will be participating.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 3, 2014 at 7:06 AM

      If people had any brains they`d boycott the event when it comes around, to make FIFA understand that corruption is not acceptable.

  6. granadafan - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    Qatar should lose their right to hold the game. Besides the outright bribes, the fan experience is going to be awful with 110 degree days inside and outside the stadiums. My brother was in Brazil and had the time of his life in the fan zones. Not many fans would be willing to go to the Middle East given the instability and the bans on alcohol. There is no infrastructure to host an event as large as the World Cup. The US could host it right now with all our huge stadiums.

    • simonkulberg - Jul 3, 2014 at 7:08 AM

      Don`t bet on it. The FIFA boondoggle system will force you to build all new stadiums, just like the Brazilians had to. This is Brazil right, so it`s not like they didn`t already have soccer stadiums all over the place.
      The truth is that hosting a World Cup is incredibly expensive these days. That`s why there were protests against FIFA in Brazil.

      • mdac1012 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Over the last 5-8 years their has been a remodeling or building of new stadiums all over the country. Most of the MLS-soccer specific stadiums would be too small to host WC games, but here in the NY area, Yankee Stadium is only 2-3 years old and state of the art as is MetLife Stadium where the Giants and Jets play. The U.S. May have to re-configure certain stadiums, but they won’t be building all new stadiums.

  7. onelovesoccer7 - Jul 2, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    just give us 2022 and stop with this charade.

  8. rmccleary97 - Jul 2, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    FIFA is Lucy holding the football promising “go ahead and kick it, I won’t pull it away this time.” Sadly, way too many countries and individuals are willing to be Charlie Brown and believe that claim – and then are shocked when the football gets yanked away again.

  9. drewvt6 - Jul 2, 2014 at 10:02 PM

    People in Qatar will be like, remember in Brazil when it was so nice? Only 95F at kickoff?

  10. amartinez99 - Jul 2, 2014 at 11:38 PM

    I like Rodney Marsh’s recommendation. Have the US host every 4th or 5th World Cup.

  11. bnwpnw - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:03 AM

    How about 2022 or stuff it.

  12. reformed2012 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    If we can’t get 2022, make damn sure we can host the centennial edition. We will have a strong enough squad by then to challenge the title.

    Bring the 2030 cup home!

  13. quizguy66 - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    We should get the 2026 World Cup on our terms.


  14. mikeevergreen - Aug 11, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    We don’t want 2026, we want 2022 that Bun Hamman and Grondona stole from us.

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