Thursday, December 2, 2010

2022: A Failed U.S. Bid

Well today U.S. Soccer received a sad yet much needed dose of reality in wake of failing to secure the 2022 World Cup bid. While Sunil Gulati and many US Soccer bigwigs may be wallowing at the defeat handed to them by the small Arab nation, there are a few distinct reasons why this defeat was inevitable.

1. Sepp Blatter's Nobel Peace Prize Bid

There is nothing on the face of the Earth that Darth Sepp Blatter wants more than to be left with a legacy befitting of a Nobel Peace Prize. Not only has his work left the impression that he is campaigning for the touted award, but in the bidding process it seemed as if he actively pursued it. 

Yes, I know Sepp Blatter is a non-voting member of the committee, but to argue that football's most powerful man had no say in the select is pure fiction. While opening up new markets may be all well and good- will successful yet somewhat faulted tournaments in 2002 and 2010, it seemed that at least one of the picks would be a proven candidate. Having brought football to Asia (South Korea and Japan), Africa (South Africa), and now Eastern Europe and the Middle East, could it be any more obvious that he wishes to be included amongst Mother Teresa, Jimmy Carter, and Kofi Annan in the pantheon of Nobel Winners. 

2. The U.S. Bid Team Did Not Play Politics

I'll blow your vuvuzuela if you........
For better or for worse, U.S.S.F. President Sunil Gulati was not willing to play hard ball and political games in order to win the bid. You may subscribe to the Draconian "ends justify the means" mentality, but I do look highly upon an honorable U.S. bid- even though FIFA may not support it.

3. Perceived Indifference To U.S. Soccer

Many detractors have cited America's lack of enthusiasm to the beautiful game as a detractor for electing to place the 2022 games in the U.S. This statement I believe is a half-truth. Yes Soccer is not the first sport in the U.S., and yes it lags behind Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey in the States. 

But NO you cannot argue that soccer has not grown immensely in America due to the rising level of awareness to European Soccer, ESPN games for MLS, and a National Team that has caught the imagination of citizens through their exploits in the Confederation's Cup and World Cup. So with the question being asked, where will soccer be in 2022? Unarguably in a better place than today and better than it where it was a few years ago.

4. The U.S. Bid Team Was Out Of Touch

While Qatar was able to offer up ingenuity, creativity, and a united Pan-Middle East bid, the U.S. Bid team created a bid based on pure profit, but lacked soul. Winning the bid could solidify an already growing sport in America and possibly push it further into the realm of major U.S. sport, but that was hardly discussed. Profits and profits, infrastructure in place, and the ability to stage a successful tournament were the only talking points of the U.S. team. 

With a FIFA president courting a Nobel Peace Prize, an out-of-touch bid team, and corruption behind close doors in Zurich- there was no way the USA was possibly going to beat Australia or Qatar.

But No Worries- No European and Asian countries can win a 2026 bid. Sorry England.

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