Saturday, July 24, 2010

China Boosts American Position for 2022 World Cup

More good news is emerging as the United States looks to bring the 2018 or 2022 World Cup home. China's Football Association has expressed interest in bidding for the 2026 World Cup. If the bid moves forward, China would be a strong candidate; FIFA would love to bring the world's biggest sporting event to the world's most populous nation.

How does that impact the United States bid? The U.S. is one of five bids for the 2018 World Cup and those five bidders are joined by four others who are vying for the 2022 World Cup. But realistically, there are two groups. The 2018 World Cup will almost certainly go the one of the four European bidders, and that leaves the U.S. competing against Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea. With the U.S. facing four Asian opponents (Australia, while not in Asia, joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006), a looming Chinese bid is bad news for the Eastern quartet. FIFA hasn't awarded consecutive World Cups to the same continent since the 1950's, so Asia has no chance of hosting two in a row. Any FIFA voter who wanted to see the 2026 World Cup go to China wouldn't vote for an Asian candidate in 2022, and there's no place else to send those votes other than to the American bid.

International sports politics take some odd twists and turns, but the U.S. bid and its supporters have to be pleased with this latest development.

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