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USA Bid Committee Board of Directors Meet in New York City at Major League Soccer Headquarters

NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2009) – The USA Bid Committee to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022 hosted members of its board of directors today for a meeting at Major League Soccer headquarters in New York City.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and USA Bid Committee Executive Director David Downs presided over the meeting to discuss the progress of the campaign and develop plans for the final year leading into the decision by FIFA on the host countries for the two World Cups at stake in December 2010.

“The meeting marks an important milestone for our bid as we now start the second and final stage of our bid campaign,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “We are honored to have the ongoing support of our Board of Directors and thankful so many could take the time to meet with us today and engage in constructive dialogue about our bid. The diversity and talent gathered both in the room and on the phone will energize us as we move into the next stage of the bid process.”

Members of the board of directors have been contributing to the development of the United States’ bid in an individual ways since the beginning of the process and have been constantly briefed on the progress of the campaign.

Those members in attendance at today’s meeting got to hear first hand the full update from the Bid Committee’s management team. Specifically the board was updated on the final stages of the host city selection and application process. There are currently 27 cities and 32 stadiums under consideration as host venues. In the next weeks, the USA Bid Committee will reduce the list to the maximum of 18 cities that can be included in its formal bid book due to FIFA in May 2010.

Today’s meeting marked the first time during the nine-month process of selecting the board of directors that a majority of the group was able to get together to discuss the direction and targets of the bid.

Participating in the meeting were, in alphabetical order: Drew Carey, Carlos Cordeiro, Dan Flynn, Ed Foster-Simeon, Mia Hamm, Dr. Henry Kissinger, Robert Kraft, Donna Shalala, John Skipper and Joe Uva. Also attending the meeting was Bob Bradley, head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Soccer team, and representatives of the USA Bid Committee.

The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.

All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.

The USA Bid Committee’s efforts have earned the enthusiastic support of President Barack Obama, who in April reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the goal of bringing the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.

On Monday, July 27, Obama and Blatter met at the White House to discuss the U.S. bid and other soccer-related topics. The meeting was marked by Blatter confirming his invitation for President Obama to be his guest at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. President Obama has expressed his interest in attending the event pending availability on his schedule.

Representatives of the USA Bid Committee joined the delegation from the U.S. Soccer Federation in South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Final Draw on Friday, Dec. 4. One of just seven nations to participate in all six World Cups since 1990, the United States Men’s National Team was placed in Group C with England, Algeria and Slovenia. The first match of the 2010 World Cup for the United States will be against England on June 12 in Rustenburg, South Africa. The United States earned its place among the field of 32 for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa by capturing the top spot in the final round standings in CONCACAF.

The USA Bid Committee recently released a study conducted by an independent consulting firm that estimates a conservative domestic economic impact of five billion dollars if the United States is chosen to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. The findings of the study indicate that the total economic impact projected for any one host city ranges from approximately $400 million to $600 million at today’s dollar value. The analysis also estimates that between 65,000 and 100,000 total new jobs would be created in the various host cities during the preparation and operation of the tournament in the year of the event. The study was undertaken by the Economics practice at AECOM, formerly Economics Research Associates (ERA), the world’s leading international sports and entertainment attraction consulting firm.