U.S. Soccer President and Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati
On not winning the right to host the World Cup in 2022:
“Obviously, we’re disappointed. We put a lot of hard work in. We had a great bid and I think we’ve told a great story that is accurate about American soccer. We’re disappointed for our committee, for the millions of fans that got behind the bid, and everyone that’s been involved, the cities around the country, starting at the White House and President Clinton, who has been fantastic. There’s no other response or feeling that you are going to have in such a situation other than sharp disappointment.”
On if it was a fair result?
“We think we had the best story and we think we had a great bid, but I want to congratulate Qatar. We accept the result. Games are won and lost. Sometimes you dominate and lose, sometimes you get outplayed and win, but (this) is not like that. This is an election. Do elections have fair results? As long as the elections are fair then you accept the results. From that perspective, we have no issues.”
On how the result of the election will impact soccer in the USA:
“What we’ve always said is we are on a trend line that’s positive for this sport, whether it’s the league or the national team. I’ve always viewed this as a huge pedal, and a World Cup hosted in the U.S. would give us a foot down on that pedal and take us to a new trend line. So, we are obviously not going to have that. Will that trend line still be positive? Yes. Will we still get to where all of us – where Don and I and others – want to get? The answer is yes. It’s going to take longer. It’s going to be harder. This was a big part of that plan. There’s no way around that.”
On if the USA can win a bid to host a World Cup in the future:
“I believe we can or we wouldn’t have entered. There are a lot of countries in the world that want to host these events. The World Cup has become one that people have figured out a way to do it and not lose a lot of money, especially if you don’t have any infrastructure issues. Clearly in the two winners today there will be a lot of infrastructure needs and commitments have been made by the governments. So the answer is yes. I believe the U.S. can host.”
On his experience over the last few days:
“It’s an emotional period. Luckily for us, we’ve had a great team here with us, a great team from the professional level as well as some personal friends. It’s been a lot of emotion and a lot of hard work and if there’s a roller coaster, this is the bottom of it.”
On if the voting process should be re-evaluated by FIFA:
“I am sure FIFA is going to evaluate this process. The President has said in retrospect that they shouldn’t have done two (World Cup bids) at the same time and given some of the other things that have happened along the way, I am sure they are going to review. But that’s up to FIFA and not something I am going to comment on today.”
On if there is anything the Bid Committee would have done differently:
“I knew that question would get asked and I’ve said to a couple of our national team coaches in the last few years, ‘what would you do differently,’ so it’s a question I always ask. I don’t mean in the case of our national team coaches, but I’m always (surprised) when someone says I wouldn’t do anything differently. Unless you’ve just won the World Cup or in this case won the right to host the World Cup, it goes through your mind and of course you think about everything. Can I sit here today and say these are the seven things we would do differently? The answer is no. I think we did everything we could, but over the next few days will I say ‘what else could we have done?’ Of course. Did we do everything perfectly? Of course not. I think we tried to do everything we could and have a campaign that we’re proud of.”
On how the USA’s bid stacked up against the rest:
“We submitted a bid that was ranked at the top of the bids along with a couple others. There’s an economic study that’s been written that puts us pretty clearly at the top in 2022. President Clinton came in to help. We’ve got a country of 320 million people with a great soccer story. So that was our bid and I think we told our story well.”
U.S. Men's National Team Midfielder and USA Bid Committee Member Landon Donavan
On the decision by FIFA:
"When you hear President Blatter talk about his goals, he wants to spread soccer around the world and you have to commend him for that. These two decisions will certainly do that."
Compare this to being eliminated from the World Cup:
"It's disappointing but this is different. When we play a football we have control of what happens so you're very disappointed when you lose. Here we did everything we could and it came down to somebody else's vote. You can't control that."