USA to Bid for 2018 – 2022 World cup Obama Magic

May 9, 2009 | Filed Under: USA BOX 
Tags: , , ,

We’ve got Becks . They’ve got Obama. Say goodbye to our World Cup bid and make plans to visit the U.S. in 2018.

That was The Times of London’s take on President Barack Obama’s support for the 2018/22 World Cup Bid Committee in the U.S.

The USA Bid Committee is not calling the race over, yet. With Obama behind the bid, though, the U.S. surely has taken a huge step toward the goal. And, it wasn’t just that Obama sent a letter in April supporting the U.S. to FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter. Obama actually composed the letter himself. He did not pawn it off to speechwriters, or even press secretary Robert Gibbs, once a backup goalkeeper at North Carolina State University. Obama made it perfectly clear those were his words during an interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos.

And the epistle surely has Obama’s stamp.

Obama’s sporting affiliations mostly regard basketball. But Obama did play soccer as a youngster in Jakarta, Indonesia, and has attended West Ham United games with London relatives. He was able to tie together those experiences in Indonesia with those of being a soccer pop.

No one is certain whether Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic Games, also backed by Obama, is a positive for the World Cup. Nor does anyone know if the overwhelming amount of stadia and infrastructure in the U.S. will be a factor. Everyone knows the U.S. is capable of playing host to the World Cup, and that the potential for audiences and sponsorships is enormous. But that does not necessarily mean FIFA will approve. FIFA needs only 12 adequate stadia to hold the party, and those can be found in many countries.

“The letter from the president was picked up nationally and internationally,” said David Downs, executive director of the USA Bid Committee. “With all the things he’s facing in the current state of affairs, to take the time to do that means a lot. In general, we were seeking some show of support, but this letter was so wonderfully written.”

The bid committee, which must submit paperwork to FIFA by May 14, received positive replies from 58 U.S. stadia regarding playing host to the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 (FIFA will announce the two host countries in December 2010).

Obama reflects this in his letter to Blatter:

“As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago. Soccer is truly the world’s sport and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe. That is why this bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams.”

Obama’s words, certainly. And there are kids like him in Jakarta and Chicago right now emulating the moves of popular soccer players.

Indonesia is making a play for 2018. Other competition is coming from Australia, Belgium/Netherlands, England, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Portugal/Spain, Qatar, South Korea.

None can make a statement equivalent to one by the U.S.

Prime minister Gordon Brown appointed Becks as England’s representative for the bid. Obama appointed himself.

Obama might not be able to bend the ball but he can bend opinions as no other head of state can

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