Commerce City, Colo - Just two month since the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the FIFA Inspection Delegation arrived in the United States on Monday for their four-day examination of the US World Cup Bid. The USA is in the running to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup, and Denver is one of 18 cities included in the bid to host matches should the USA be awarded one of the tournaments.
The USA Bid Committee and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg welcomed the FIFA inspection Delegation at a reception at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. Bloomberg, a member of the USA Bid Committee's board of directors, was joined by representatives from the other 17 U.S. cities that make up the U.S. bid.
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Representing Denver were Stuart Pattison, Chairman of the Board, Denver Sports; KieAnn Brownell, President, Denver Sports; Tim Litherland, VISIT Denver; Dr. Bob Contigulia, Former President of USA Soccer; and David Erhlich, Finwater Advisors.
On Tuesday, the official opening press briefing from the FIFA Inspection Visit and USA Bid Committee was held at the St. Regis Hotel.
"We are here on our eighth visit to different bidding countries for these two next World Cups,” said Harold Mayne-Nicholls, head of the FIFA Inspection Delegation at the press briefing. “We will, in these four days, receive as much information as possible to put in our report for the [FIFA Executive Committee] members who, on Dec. 2, will decide which countries will get the World Cup in 2018 and 2022. With that information, we are sure we will present to the (FIFA Executive Members) a very objective report so they can have a strong basis for the decisions they will make."
U.S. Soccer Federation President and the USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati said at the press briefing:
"The challenge is that it's not a time trial. We're not in a race against the clock; it's a competition, an election. So the biggest challenge is the other challengers. There are some very qualified competitors that have done World Cups, have top leagues and lots of infrastructure. There are others who have proposed different solutions to issues."
The other countries currently in the process of bidding for the event are: Australia (2022), Belgium-Netherlands, England, Japan (2022), Qatar (2022), Russia, South Korea (2022), and Spain-Portugal.
"I think the challenges are that this is going to be a tough fight," said Gulati. "We've known that since the beginning and it's been a hard competition so far. I think we've done everything we can to date on the technical bid preparation, which is extraordinary, and the second part now, which is convincing 24 people that the technical bid and everything that the United States offers is what they want."
The FIFA Delegation will visit Red Bull Arena and the New Meadowlands Stadium on Tuesday before departing for Washington, D.C. On Wednesday, the group will have breakfast at the White House, visit FedEx Field, and fly to Miami, Florida to visit Sun Life Stadium. They will then depart for Dallas, Texas to see the new Cowboys Stadium.