FIFA to decide Thursday if Seattle will host the World Cup
Dec 1, 2010, 9:41 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 9:50 am
By BILL SWARTZ
710 ESPN/97.3 KIRO FM
What will you be doing in 12 years?
Hopefully watching Germany play South Korea in a first round World Cup soccer match at Qwest Field or a renovated Husky Stadium. We’ll find out whether it’s possible early Thursday morning.
That’s when FIFA, soccer’s ruling body, will announce the host cities of World Cup 2018 and 2022. The United States bid committee has been led by former President Bill Clinton, actor Morgan Freeman, American soccer star Landon Donovan and comedian Drew Carey. As everyone around Seattle knows, Carey is a soccer nut and part owner of Sounders FC.
For the past year, the Sounders and the Seattle Sports Commission have urged all soccer fans in the Pacific Northwest to sign a petition at gousabid.com. It’s another way to show America and the world we have a special soccer passion in Seattle. Fans from Europe and South America who’ve attended MLS matches at Qwest Field have been pleasantly surprised with the amazing soccer atmosphere. Seattle is one of 18 cities selected as an official host city by the USA committee.
What would it mean to host World Cup matches?
Ralph Morton, Seattle Sports Commission Executive Director, says “the economic impact has been estimated at $400 million to $600 million to the community.” Beyond that, says Morton, “a billion people will be watching on television and seeing what’s going on in your city.”
FIFA requires natural grass playing surfaces. That’s been done before at Qwest Field (which has artificial turf) for “international friendly” matches and Gold Cup tournaments. Morton says Seattle has more than enough hotel rooms and would be prepared for all the required security measures to host the World Cup.
What stands in the way of the USA and Seattle hosting soccer’s biggest prize in 2022? Politics and money.
Russia and England have been embroiled in plenty of finger pointing and alleged bribery to land the 2018 World Cup. Other countries competing against the United States 2022 bid include Australia, Korea, Qatar and Japan.
You’re invited to a World Cup bid announcement party at F.X. McRory’s (just across from Qwest Field) Thursday morning at 6:30. I’ll be there with guests and the big announcement around 7 a.m. on newstalk 97.3 KIRO FM.