2018 WORLD CUP

U.S. to bid for 2018 and 2022 World Cups

January 29, 2009

CHICAGO -- The United States plans to submit simultaneous bids to soccer's governing body for the right to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

The U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday that USSF president Sunil Gulati will hold a telephone conference call on Monday to announce the group's intentions to bid for the tournament in both years. The U.S. staged the World Cup in 1994, the highest-attended World Cup ever.

Monday is the deadline for submissions to FIFA, and four bids are expected from Europe: England, Spain/Portugal, Netherlands/Belgium/Luxembourg and Russia.

In Asia, Indonesia announced its candidacy on Wednesday, joining Australia and Qatar. China and Japan were expected to follow in the coming days.

FIFA intends to decide on the 2018 and 2022 sites in December 2010. Next year's World Cup is in South Africa and the 2014 tournament is scheduled for Brazil.

Brazil's government and FIFA say soccer's governing body has agreed to the country's request to have the 2014 World Cup played in 12 cities rather than 10.

"FIFA thinks that of the 12 cities, one will be in the Amazon and the other one in the Pantanal," Sports Minister Orlando Silva said Thursday after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva met with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. "They are fundamental tourist destinations that deserve to be promoted."

Seventeen cities are vying for the right to stage games, the first World Cup in South America since the 1978 tournament in Argentina. Silva said FIFA will announce the 12 cities on March 20.

Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia hope to host the opener, and Rio de Janeiro is the primary candidate for the final.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press