U.S. President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama has thrown his considerable weight behind the USA’s bid to bring the FIFA World Cup back to the States in either 2018 or 2022.
The President wrote a letter to FIFA head Sepp Blatter in support of the United States Soccer Federation's bid to bring the biggest soccer show on earth back to America. The USA hosted the tournament in 1994 when Brazil beat Italy on penalties in the final.
In extracts of the letter released to the New York Times by the United States Soccer Federation, after getting the green light to do so from the White House, President Obama reminisces about his own exposure to the game while living in Indonesia during his childhood.
“As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together,”said Obama, who is more of a basketball fanatic. “As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago."
The President hit all the right notes in the correspondence:
“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.”
The decision on where the 2108 and 2022 tournaments take place will be made in December 2010.
"The support of the President, who is extraordinarily popular around the world, is a huge plus," Sunil Gulati, United States Soccer Federation president, told the New York Times.