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FIFA Press Conference Quotesheet

Press Conference Transcription
Harold Mayne-Nicholls, Head of FIFA Inspection Group
Sept. 9, 2010

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, Head of FIFA Inspection Group
"After four days of inspection in the United States and having had the chance to visit five of the 18 candidate cities for the FIFA World Cup 2018 and 2022, we have been able to collect all the necessary facts and figures in order to submit a detailed report to the 24 executive members. As you know, the decision who will host the World Cups 2018 and 2022 is due on the 2nd of December, 2010.

First of all we would like to emphasize that when it comes to infrastructure matters - such as hotel, airports ,as well security matters during the event - we do not anticipate any major issue. Also, regarding optional training sites and facilities for the teams, including team base camps, we are absolutely positive that all FIFA requirements will be met by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

All five stadiums we have been able to visit, with very small adjustments, would be great World Cup venues. There is no doubt about that. We have been impressed by the standards of service and technology and we are happy to confirm that the recently built New Meadowlands Stadium and Cowboys Stadium are both truly outstanding venues capable of staging world class events.

We believe that the selection of candidate cities and venues has been carefully done. Please let me add that there might be, on a later stage, additional needs for public transportation to cater to foreign fans.

When it comes to side events such as qualification as well as final draws and the FIFA congress, we have seen a number of excellent locations. Again, all requirements and expectations should be met.

The 1994 FIFA World Cup has led to huge improvements in U.S. Soccer. We have been able to learn a lot about the domestic league, grassroots programs and various social activities, for example, those from the U.S. Soccer Foundation. New plans and new goals are already in place in order to be ready for another World Cup. 
I would like to add that, in the case that you are to be awarded the event, we would also need a strong focus on an international legacy, not only a domestic one. We have been able to see in these past four days very strong candidates from the various cities and communities for the bid. Mayor of New York City, Mr. Michael Bloomberg; Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston; Jerry Jones and Bob McNair have all indicated their strong interest and dedicated precious time to our visit.

It would have been easy for U.S. Soccer, as we understand, to involve even more than a total of 18 candidate cities, but this was not necessary of course. This alone is a significant change from the late 1980’s when you were bidding for the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Sunil Gulati, President of the bid and U.S. Soccer, has made it clear to us that we could expect a couple of records to be broken if the USA was to host a second FIFA World Cup: a new record of spectators, a number of international visitors as well as a growth in ticketing and media rights revenues. These expectations can only be met if the whole country, and the federal government really back the bid. It was therefore important for us to learn, in the White House from Valerie Jarrett, Senior Adviser to the President, that the government is more than ready to get fully involved. As you know, a World Cup only works when it becomes a fully national project.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to the Bid Committee for the great and passionate job they have done. The organization during the last 72 hours was excellent, and as I said at the beginning, it will enable us to submit a fair report. Thank you very much and I would like to give to my colleague Sunil Gulati the FIFA Banner, a souvenir of this visit."