NEW YORK (Oct. 1, 2009) – Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Walt Disney Company, today accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its endeavor to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
“I am honored to join the USA Bid Committee to help bring the world’s most exciting sporting event back to the U.S.,” said Mr. Iger. “Enthusiasm for the sport has grown tremendously in the 15 years since the U.S. last hosted the FIFA World Cup and I’m confident this can continue with an unforgettable experience for the millions of soccer fans here and around the world.”
The sixth CEO in the Walt Disney Company’s 86-year history, Iger will play a significant role on the Board of Directors as the USA Bid Committee prepares its application and campaign to bring the world’s largest sporting event to the United States.
Prior to his appointment as CEO, Iger served more than five years as the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Walt Disney Company, overseeing the company’s filmed entertainment, theme parks and resorts, media networks and consumer products businesses.
Iger has held a series of senior management positions throughout his 26-year tenure with ABC, a company that has been a longtime U.S. Soccer partner, the current broadcast rightsholder for MLS soccer and rightsholder for the 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups.
Iger also guided the complex merger of ABC with The Walt Disney Company as President and Chief Operating Officer of Capital Cities/ABC. Among the series of ABC management roles he had was his stewardship of all of ABC Sports’ programming in his capacity as Vice President, Programming.
In 1996, Iger formally joined the Disney senior management team as Chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group. In 1999, he was appointed President, Walt Disney International.
Iger, in addition to his role on the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee, serves on the Board of Directors for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, as well as the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. He is also a trustee of the American Film Institute Board and serves on the Executive Advisory Board of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.
“Through his work with ABC, Bob has seen firsthand the growth of soccer in the United States, particularly since the 1994 World Cup,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “Bob’s global perspective on the game and how the United States can continue to foster participation and fan following world wide will prove invaluable as the we build our application to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The Walt Disney Company’s long standing support and commitment to US Soccer through ABC and ESPN have already laid an important part of the foundation for the development of our bid.”
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 declared their intention to submit 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 hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments on December 2, 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.
Iger joins the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee that recently welcomed comedian Drew Carey, MLS founding investor Philip Anschutz, Univision CEO Joe Uva, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. National Team icons Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. In the months ahead, the USA Bid Committee will add additional national leaders from the sectors of sports, entertainment, government and business.
The USA Bid Committee’s efforts has earned the full support of President Barack Obama, who back in April reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the efforts to bring the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In that 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.
ABOUT U.S. SOCCER:
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for soccer in the USA for more than 95 years as the governing body of the sport. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been simple and clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage while also growing the game here in the United States with the support of its members. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
ABOUT THE USA BID COMMITTEE INC.:
The USA Bid Committee is a non-profit organization created to prepare a successful application to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022 on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation. The Bid Committee will submit its comprehensive bid to FIFA by May 2010, with FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee making a decision in December 2010. Members of the USA Bid Committee in alphabetical order include Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy owner Philip Anschutz, comedian Drew Carey, former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman (Asia) Carlos Cordeiro, U.S. Men’s National Team player Landon Donovan, Executive Director David Downs, U.S. Soccer CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, U.S. Soccer President and USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati, U.S. Women’s National Team former player Mia Hamm, Walt Disney Company President and CEO Robert Iger, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, University of Miami President Donna Shalala and Univision CEO Joe Uva.