Boost for USA Bid as Oceania Abandons Plan to Vote


Landon Donovan Rehearses his Presentation for Tomorrow's Bid
Photo: Michael Gericke/USA Bid Committee

The United States bid to win the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup received a small boost earlier today.

Delegates and representatives including Landon Donovan, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and former President Bill Clinton are on hand to support the bid.

Donovan was looking forward to his role.

“I want to be genuine, and I want to tell my story. And I think my story is important. My story can be replicated and duplicated if we get the World Cup in 12 years, and I want to give that opportunity to another kid who will be in my position like I was in 1994.

For me, I take that very seriously. I am excited about it, I guess I’ll be a little nervous, mainly because I don’t want to go too long and take time from President Clinton. So, I’m going to be real, and I’m going to enjoy it. “

USSF President Sunil Gulati paid tribute to the role of President Clinton and the influence his global popularity brought to the bid:

“President Clinton didn’t just get involved with our bid last week. He has been involved through most of this year and has been extraordinary in every aspect. He has hosted a board meeting, has written to people, has come to the (2010) World Cup for two of our games, changed his schedule after we beat Algeria because he was caught up in it… he’s been everything we’ve asked.

What does he bring to the bid? There are very few global citizens like President Clinton, very few global treasures, and I think we have one speaking on our behalf tomorrow. I don’t think there are many people in the world who resonate the way that he does.

And he’s been a fan of the game. He was with us at the 1994 opening game, was with us in the ’99 (women’s) final, he was at the 2006 final (in Germany), his daughter played when she was younger, and when you hear him talk about the game, and the power of the game, and the connection of that to the things he spends every day thinking about and trying to change, I couldn’t do it justice. I’ll let him do that tomorrow.”

In side news, there was a small boost for the US.

The Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) has abandoned plans to supply a late replacement for its banned delegate to Thursday’s FIFA meeting which will decide the host nation for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Oceania’s original delegate Reynald Temarii was banned after a FIFA investigation into corrupt practices.

Temarii was suspended along with Amos Adamu of Nigeria, President of the West African Football Union, following an investigation into accusations by the Sunday Times.

Both were found guilty of being willing to sell their votes for the 2018 finals. The pool of eligible voters was thereby reduced from 24 to 22 delegates.

Late last week, a story surfaced that the OFC were trying to hurriedly replace Temarii with David Chung to ensure Oceania had a vote.

Chung, the acting president of the OFC, traveled to Zurich expecting to take Mr Temarii’s place on the executive committee. However, FIFA apparently informed him that he could not do so while the appeal process was still continuing once Temarii refused to abandon his appeal.

“Despite pressures and issues at stake for the OFC, I decided not to waive this fundamental right to restore my honour, dignity and integrity following the calumnious accusations I suffered from the Sunday Times,” he said.

The news is probably good for the USA bid as Mr Chung was widely expected to back Australia’s bid for 2022.

Related Stories:

Oceania Move May Hit US Bid

Olympics to Investigate FIFA Corruption

Donovan Arrives in Zurich for Last Push for USA Bid

BBC Accuse Four More FIFA Officials by Name<

FIFA Delegates Found Guilty and Banned from World Cup Voting


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