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Blatter likes USA 2026 World Cup possibilities

by Paul Kennedy, Soccer America
We don’t yet know if he will be around when the decision will be made, what the rules of the bid process will be and perhaps most critically who will make the decision, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter thinks a 2026 World Cup in the United States would be a good idea.

Speaking from Zurich via linkup to the Soccerex audience on Monday in Manchester, Blatter said he planned on seeking a fifth term as FIFA president that would keep in office through 2015.

FIFA abandoned the rotation system that would brought the World Cup back to the United States in 2018. Its current policy is to exclude countries from the continent in which a World Cup has been held for the next two tournaments, so the 2026 World Cup could not take place in Europe or Asia.

“And as we have been in South America [Brazil 2014],” Blatter said, “I think North America has a better chance than South America — if I’m looking on the, let’s say, logic of the turnaround of the World Cup.”

Canada, Mexico and USA have expressed interest in hosting the 2026 World Cup, but Blatter singled out the USA.

“Perhaps, there’s a big commercial opportunity arising now in the United States because of the tremendous television audiences that are booming and that the World Cup has also encouraged in its domestic game as well,” he said. “We did well with football when it first went to the United States but the opportunities are bigger now. Could you just have a look at those possibilities as to where the World Cup might travel from Qatar?”

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has repeatedly suggested that FIFA should consider the USA as a host — if for no other reason than the stadium facilities and infrastructure available — and termed U.S. interest in the 2014 World Cup “staggering.”

Blatter’s comments suggest FIFA has no plans to change the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups scheduled to be played in Russia and Qatar. The only question regarding Qatar 2022 concerns the month in which the tournament will be played.

“We have already said we cannot play in summer in this heat in Qatar, then we have to play in winter,” Blatter said. “Now we are making this consultation.”

The two months Blatter threw out are January and November. Conflicts with the Winter Olympics, which normally is held in February, would make November 2022 as the likely month in which Qatar will host the World Cup.

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