U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and a bipartisan group of 26 of Senators are lending their support to an effort to bring the World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
"Soccer is growing in the U.S. and a lot of Rhode Islanders are passionate about the game. It would be great to bring the World Cup back here and give folks a chance to experience it live," said Reed. "This is an event that brings the world together and the U.S would make a great host for the games. The infrastructure is already in place and it could provide a nice economic boost."
The senators today sent a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter on behalf of the U.S. bid, writing: "As we stand captivated by the exciting events taking place across South Africa, we write in strong support of the United States' bids to host the FIFA World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. We can think of no better way to show America's enthusiasm for the sport than to again play gracious host to the world's athletes and spectators in the coming years. With memories of the successful World Cup in 1994, we hope to be given the opportunity to provide the coming generation with an event that is greater in scale and grandeur than any before."
The Senators also noted that the U.S. has the infrastructure to handle soccer's premier event and that 19 of the 21 stadiums included in the bid rank in the top 100 largest stadiums in the world.
The last time the World Cup was held in the United States was in 1994, and the average number of attendees at the matches, about 68,000, was larger than any average World Cup audience there ever was or has been since.
In addition to the Senators, former President Bill Clinton and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with celebrities Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, and notable sports figures like Landon Donovan, Mia Hamm, and New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have joined Go USA Bid, a group dedicated to bringing the World Cup here once again.
Rhode Islanders who wish to join Senator Reed in the effort to bring the World Cup back to the U.S. can visit: www.gousabid.com and sign the online petition. So far, more than 779,000 people have signed on in support of bringing the World Cup back to America.
Gillette Stadium, located in Foxborough, Massachusetts, is one of the sites selected for inclusion in the Go USA Bid. If World Cup games are held there, Rhode Island could see a significant boost in tourism from fans around the world.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be the 20th World Cup, and will take place between June and July of 2014 in Brazil.
Text of the letter follows:
July 2, 2010
Mr. Sepp Blatter
Fédération Internationale de Football Association
P.O. Box 8044
As we stand captivated by the exciting events taking place across South Africa, we write in strong support of the United States' bids to host the FIFA World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. We can think of no better way to show America's enthusiasm for the sport than to again play gracious host to the world's athletes and spectators in the coming years. With memories of the successful World Cup in 1994, we hope to be given the opportunity to provide the coming generation with an event that is greater in scale and grandeur than any before.
As you know, the 1994 World Cup was held in cities spanning the American landscape from the Atlantic to the Pacific and many places in between. More than 3.5 million fans from every corner of the nation and globe came to watch the greatest sporting event in the world played in amongst the greatest venues in the world. The average number of attendees at these matches, about 68,000, was larger than any average World Cup audience there ever was or has been since. America's first World Cup was a great success; we hope that a chance to repeat will be in the near future.
The current bids expand on this great potential by spreading the event out amongst 18 cities and 21 stadiums, all but two of which will be or currently are amongst the 100 largest stadiums in the world. Further, the size, diversity and number of cities spanning our country will allow the largest portion of Americans and visitors to have access to the sporting events. With a population of 300 million people, we assure you that there will be no lack of fans clamoring to attend the matches. Attending the matches will be no difficult feat either, as the United States features significant transportation and tourism infrastructure that will enable visitors to attend games with great ease.
Additionally, the United States maintains infrastructure that can afford the stresses of holding an internationally-attended sporting event. America has hosted several Olympic Games in its history as well as the CONCACAF Gold Cup every year since 1985. Even the sport itself is growing as American Major League Soccer is undergoing an expansion. As visitors from across the globe come to the United States, we stand well prepared to answer all their needs. As always, we relish the opportunity to showcase our enthusiasm for this sport and hope that Americans will be given a chance to display their passion.
Finally, the United States is a nation consisting largely of individuals from all over the globe. Our diverse population ensures that there are individuals from every country in the world eager to see their home country's team play at their local stadium. The World Cup's message is one of inclusion and international harmony; the United States wants to stand with the people of the world in the celebration of this great sport.
We hope that you will consider the United States' bid with utmost seriousness and we hope to see you in the United States in either 2018 or 2022.
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Arlen Specter (D-PA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Bob Corker (R-TN)
Charles E. Schumer (D-NY)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
George LeMieux (R-FL)
Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Michael Bennet (D-CO)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
John Kerry (D-MA)
Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Scott Brown (R-MA)
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Richard Lugar (R-IN)