Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 1994 World Cup, Al Jazeera, Argentina, baseball, basketball, Blatter criticizes MLS, Brazil, Commissioner Don Garber, English Premier League, FIFA, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, Genoa, German Bundesliga, gridiron football, Italian Serie A, Italy, Jamaica, Kingston, Major League Soccer, MLB, National Hockey League, NBA, New York Times, NFL, Spain, Spain's La Liga
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber was struggling to remain diplomatic in the wake of recent comments by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who criticized MLS for its lack of progress.
Blatter told Al Jazeera television, in an interview broadcast December 28, that “there is no very strong professional league” in the U.S. ”They just have the MLS. But they have no professional leagues which are recognized by the American society.”
He added that MLS was “still struggling” to lift soccer to the level of gridiron football, baseball and basketball in America. ”We had the World Cup in 1994,” Blatter said. ”But we are now in 2012–it’s been 18 years. It should’ve been done now.”
Countered Garber in an interview with the New York Times: ”We still have a lot of work to do–we understand and accept that. But arguably there’s probably not another sports league in the world that has achieved as much as we have in the last 20 years. [January 2]
Comment: Blatter’s latest blatherings triggered a firestorm of criticism among American fans of MLS and Americans who simply believe the man should have been unseated when his first term as FIFA chief ended in 2002. What was disappointing was how a man who, as FIFA general secretary, held America’s hand as it prepared for and pulled off World Cup USA ’94, could still have such a dismal understanding of this country.
Mainstream America really doesn’t know what to make of soccer. An estimated 18 million of their countrymen and countrywomen and countrykids play the sport. Its women’s national team is usually No. 1 in the world while its men’s national team, usually ranked around No. 30, is capable of beating Spain in the FIFA Confederations Cup and Italy in Genoa, then losing to Jamaica in Kingston. And its official national league, whose average attendance of 18,807 last season topped the NBA and NHL for the second year in a row, making it third behind the NFL and Major League Baseball in average gate, remains a television bust, stuck at 0.1 and 0.2 in the ratings.
What Blatter and mainstream America need to understand is that MLS is no measuring stick of soccer here. America loves the NFL, Major League Baseball and the NBA a whole lot more than MLS, not because they’ve had a 74-, 152- and 47-year head start, respectively, on MLS, but because the NFL, MLB and NBA are the best at their craft in the world. The NFL, MLB and the NBA play their game like they invented it because, well, they have. Even the National Hockey League can make the same claim, if, for the sake of this argument, we co-opt our Canadian friends. As for MLS, everyone in America knows that it’s not the best soccer league in the world, even those who know nothing about the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, the Italian Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga or the Brazilian and Argentine championships. And it’s hard to imagine a time when an MLS, which has gone from crawl to hobble to jog in those 18 years, will have the means and talent to challenge those leagues.
MLS will continue to be a symbol, a happy, regular rallying point, for soccer here, but it will never be the heart–or reliable barometer–of our sport. While the NFL can boast of astronomical television ratings and Major League Baseball can point to its tremendous total attendance figures, soccer in the U.S. quietly moves forward with a balance that should be the envy of the so-called “big four” pro team sports: a professional league that continues to grow and improve, a competitive men’s national team, a world-class women’s national team, and those millions and millions or participants of all ages and both genders. All underscored by a patience that Blatter doesn’t seem to possess.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2012 European Championship, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, 2014 World Cup, Brazil, English Premier League, FIFA, FIFA Club World Championship, Frank Lampard, Germany, GoalRef, Hawk-Eye, International Football Association Board, Japan, Pandora's Box, UEFA Champions League, Ukraine, Zurich
Soccer’s rule-making body, the International Football Association Board, has approved the use of technology to confirm whether a ball has crossed the goal line inside the goal.
The technology will be introduced at the FIFA Club World Championship in Japan in December and will be in place for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup, both to be hosted by Brazil.
Also OK’d was the use of five-man officiating teams. That concept, which involves a goal-line judge on each end of the field, was tested during last season’s UEFA Champions League and the 2012 European Championship.
Two different technology systems–Hawk-Eye and GoalRef–were unanimously approved by the Board during its special meeting in Zurich.
According to FIFA, Hawk-Eye, a British system already in use in cricket and tennis, employs six to eight high-speed cameras set up at different angles at each end to calculate the exact position of the ball. The data is then transferred to video software. From this data, the system generates a 3D image of the ball’s trajectory. The officials are informed whether a goal has been scored within a second.
GoalRef, a Danish-German system, creates the radio equivalent of a light curtain. Low magnetic fields are produced around the goal, and as soon as the ball, fitted with a compact electronic device, fully crosses the line, a minor change in the magnetic field is detected, thus allowing the exact position of the ball to be established. If a goal has been scored, an alert is transmitted to the officials via a radio signal within a second, with a message displayed on their watches and by vibration.
The English Premier League, which is expected to employ one of the systems, estimates the cost at between $200,000 and $250,000 per stadium. [July 5]
Comment: There are two soccer worlds: one in which hidebound traditionalists live and one populated by progressives who welcome things like goal-line technology. The only common ground is that everyone wants the officials to get it right, especially because the final score is likely to be 2-1 rather than 115-98. No room for error.
It has been said that soccer already uses technology: the headphones that connect the referee, assistant referees and fourth official at major matches. But this latest move by the International Football Association Board doesn’t just crack open Pandora’s Box, it rips the lid off its hinges.
What the introduction of the Hawk-Eye and GoalRef systems does is give us hybrid officiating. In a sport played by humans and officiated by humans, one aspect has been turned over to machine–and why, in the pursuit of perfection, stop there?
The infamous not-allowed goal by Ukraine at Euro 2012 aside, the incident that created the biggest hue and cry for goal-line technology was the shot by England’s Frank Lampard in the 2010 World Cup round of 16 that was clearly in the goal to everyone looking on–except the referee and his linesman. Egregious and inexcusable and, for FIFA, embarrassing. It is highly questionable that the correct call–something Hawk-Eye and GoalRef would not have missed–would have changed what was ultimately a comfortable 4-1 victory for Germany over the English. But what of all the hundreds and thousands of calls and non-calls made during a 32-team, 64-game tournament that lasted more than 100 hours?
Get Lampard’s goal right, but what of the fouls that should have resulted in a yellow card, the yellow card that should have been a red, the red that shouldn’t have been anything at all, the dive in the box that went unpunished and, especially, all those offside calls. Why invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in an effort to get one kind of decision right when a game turns on so many other decisions that rest in the hands of the referee and his assistants?
So expand technology. It can be done. Go to Soccer Stories: Anecdotes, Oddities, Lore and Amazing Feats and read about some of the other gizmos at the ready, including the Belgian system that can detect offside through sensors embedded in the players’ shinguards. It’s all never-ending, and thanks to the International Football Association Board’s ruling in this case, it won’t be.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 1924 Paris Olympics, 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, 1930 World Cup, 1972 European Championship, 1974 World Cup, 1997 Copa America, 1998 World Cup, 1999 Copa America, 2002 World Cup, 2004 Copa America, 2012 European Championship, Brazil, Cesare Prandelli, Cesc Fabrigas, Colombia, Czechoslovakia, David Silva, ESPN, Fernando Torres, France, Germany, Gianluigi Buffon, Italy, Jordi Alba, Juan Mata, Kiev, Pele, Spain, Thiago Motta, Uruguay, Vicente de Bosque, West Germany, World Cup, Xavi
Defending World Cup champion Spain became the first country to win a second consecutive European Championship, humbling a shorthanded Italy, 4-0, in the 2012 final in Kiev.
The triumph made Spain, which won its first Euro crown in 1964, the second three-time winner of Europe’s biggest prize after West Germany/Germany (1972, 1980, 1996).
David Silva got the rout underway in the 14th minute when he headed in Cesc Fabrigas’ short cross. Jordi Alba latched onto a pass by Xavi to beat Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon four minutes before halftime to put the match out of reach.
Substitute Fernando Torres, who also scored against Germany in Spain’s 1-0 victory in the 2008 final, scored in the 84th minute, and Juan Mata, set up by Torres, applied the finishing touch at 88 minutes. Italy lost Thiago Motta to injury in the 62nd minute after coach Cesare Prandelli had used his three substitutions–the last of them Motta in the 57th–and appeared nearly helpless on the Torres and Mata goals. [July 1]
Comment: Spain’s dominating performance put a much-needed shine on a tournament that for the most part was downright dull. But those quick to brand this team as the best of all time need to take a deep breath.
Is Spain the best? Those who disagree might start with the West German team that won the 1972 European Championship and the ’74 World Cup. That team also lost the ’76 Euro final to Czechoslovakia on penalty kicks before winning its second Euro four years later. Others would point to Brazil’s Pele-led 1970 World Cup champs. And so on.
So are the Spaniards the best ever over an extended period? Various media reports branded coach Vicente del Bosque’s ball-possession magicians as the first to win three consecutive major titles. ESPN, which televised Euro 2012, was among them. But the first was Uruguay, winners of the 1924 Olympics in Paris and the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam–back when Olympic soccer was the sport’s de facto world championship. The Uruguayans so dazzled the Continent on those occasions that they fueled the drive to create the World Cup in 1930, which that year was hosted and won by Uruguay. De facto or no, that was three world titles in a row over a half-dozen years.
Too long ago, when soccer wasn’t quite the global game it is today? Then for hardware in the modern era, go with another South American team, Brazil, just a decade ago. Except for an interruption by Colombia at the 2001 Copa America, the Brazilians, three years removed from their win at USA ’94, won the next two South American championships, in 1997 and ’99, finished second at the 1998 World Cup to host France, then won their fifth world championship at Korea/Japan 2002, followed by another Copa in 2004.
But then, when it comes to soccer and other matters, we live in a Eurocentric world.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2014 World Cup, Bob Bradley, Brazil, Carlos Boganegra, Chris Armas, Costa Rica, FedEx Field, Herculez Gomez, Jacksonville, Jeffrey Calderon, Jermaine Jones, Juergen Klinsmann, Landover, Neymar, Oguchi Onyewu, Pato, Rafael, Santos, Scotland, U.S.
Brazil, led by playmaker Neymar, defeated the U.S., 4-1, in a friendly before a crowd of 67,619 at FedEx Field in Landover, MD, in the second-to-last tune-up before the Americans open qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
The 20-year-old Neymar converted a penalty kick to open the scoring and set up two other goals as the Brazilians improved to 16-1-0 against the U.S., which was coming off a 5-1 rout of Scotland four days earlier in Jacksonville. Neymar’s Santos teammate, goalkeeper Rafael, made three spectacular saves to frustrate the Americans.
Despite some bright spots–including the play of forward Herculez Gomez, who scored the lone American goal just before halftime to cut Brazil’s lead to 2-1–U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann was upset not only with the officiating of Costa Rican referee Jeffrey Calderon but the overall play of his side.
“I think we need to get an edge–more nastier,” he said after the match. ”Maybe we’re a little bit too naive. Maybe we don’t want to hurt people. But that’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to do that at the end of the day. We’ve got to step on their toes more and get them more frustrated and make a case with the referee maybe that’s wrong for us, not only the opponents. There was a clear penalty on Herculez Gomez in the second half not given. But it is what it is.”
Klinsmann also took exception with the penalty kick, awarded in the 12th minute for a handball in the box by defender Oguchi Onyewu, and Brazil’s fourth goal, scored in the 87th by Pato, whom the U.S. believed was offside.
Comment I: Klinsmann was criticized in some quarters for his “nasty” remarks. The U.S. wins clean, y’know, or it doesn’t win at all.
Probably a poor choice of words despite his command of the English language. Most American coaches probably would have put it this way: The U.S., for most of the first half, showed Brazil far too much respect and deserved to be down by two goals after 26 minutes.
(Obviously, one player he need not convert is midfielder Jermaine Jones, who could be described as a latter-day Chris Armas with real judgement/anger management issues. His tackle from behind on Neymar–in front of the Brazil bench–was the latest addition to a long list of nasty incidents.)
Comment II: After five years of faithfully giving us the Bob Bradley Bunker, the U.S., under Klinsmann, is attempting to become an attacking, risk-taking side. It’s a work in progress, but some of the pieces don’t fit any longer. Center backs Onyewu and captain Carlos Bocanegra, who was honored before the game for earning his 100th cap, now find themselves without a host of friendly midfielders directly in front of them when they retreat to the top of their own penalty area. Klinsmann’s challenge in the coming months is to identify those fast, skillful players–converted midfielders, if need be–who may lack in defensive instincts but make up for it in smoothly getting the ball out of the back.
Comment III: The early handball call against Onyewu that left the U.S. swimming upstream was correct.
There was a question of whether Onyewu was fully in the penalty area when he handled Leandro Damiao’s shot. He was.
There was a question of whether the ball played Onyewu or Onyewu played the ball. The shot struck the U.S. defender in the left arm, but he twisted in such a fashion–his right arm reaching across his body–that it appeared that he could have caught the ball instead of just knocking it down.
Referee Calderon got it right.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Argentina, Brazil, Copa America, England, fourth substitution, International Football Association Board, Laws of the Game, penalty kick, professional foul, Surrey, triple punishment, vanishing spray
The 126th annual general meeting of the International Football Association Board–world soccer’s official rule-making body–will be held March 3 in Surrey, England.
Among the eight proposed amendments to the Laws of the Game on the agenda are a proposal for a fourth substitution to be allowed for overtime matches; a new text to clarify what action should be taken if a dropped ball is kicked directly into the opponent’s goal; and a new text to address the so-called “triple punishment” (ejection and one-game suspension of a player who tries to stop an obvious scoring chance with a professional foul, plus the awarding of a penalty kick against that player’s team.)
Also to be discussed are an update on experiments involving additional assistant referees and the use of “vanishing spray” to mark where defending players can stand or form a wall on a free kick. [February 1]
Comment: This get-together probably won’t generate as much interest as a special meeting the IFAB may convene July 2, when it could make a decision regarding the future of goal-line technology and the use of additional assistant referees. It’s in Surrey, however, where board members will consider technology that makes sense.
Vanishing spray has been used in top-level matches in Brazil and a handful of other countries the past few years, but it arrived on the world stage last summer when it was used at the Copa America in Argentina.
Very simple: When necessary, the referee steps off 10 yards (9.15 meters) from the spot of a free kick to the opponent’s goal, then pulls a small can out of his pocket and sprays a line to mark how close the defending team can form a wall. Any encroachment is there for the world to see, and the white line created disappears in 45 seconds.
Best of all, unlike goal line technology and its not-so-distant cousins, like video review of everything from offside to penalty-area dives, vanishing spray will lead to nothing beyond vanishing spray.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup semifinals, Brazil, Carli Lloyd, David Beckham, Dusseldorf
The U.S. made its way into the FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinals in dramatic fashion, tying Brazil in the dying moments of injury time, 2-2, then prevailing on penalty kicks, 5-3, in Dusseldorf. FIFA confirmed that it was only the fourth time in World Cup history–the first on the women’s side–that a team came back to win after falling behind in extra time. The spectacle was not lost on Americans: ESPN’s rating of 2.6 was the best for a Women’s World Cup match since 1999.
Comment: Said U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd, “It’s overwhelming. It’s amazing. The support and buzz back home is really awesome, and I think it’s helping women’s soccer. This could be a huge turning point for the growth of soccer back home, and that’s what we’re trying to do and trying to accomplish.”
Oh, let’s hope not.
Please, no more turning points.
Critics of soccer here cite the 1994 World Cup, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, the coming of David Beckham, see that the United States was not turned on its ear by soccer and declare the sport a repeated failure. What they miss is the fact that soccer is conquering America in drip-drip-drip fashion. There will be no seminal moment. It’s ironic that high school football coaches of long ago called soccer “commie ball,” because what soccer has become is the Viet Cong of sports. The critics will continue their carpet bombing tactics for now, but tomorrow–whenever tomorrow is–they will declare victory and go home while soccer settles comfortably into the American landscape.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2014 World Cup, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Chuck Blazer. Ghana, CONCACAF, Costa Rica, FIFA Executive Committee, Honduras, Jack Warner, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Oceania, Trinidad & Tobago, U.S., Uruguay
CONCACAF fell short in its effort to gain an extra berth in the 2014 World Cup as the FIFA Executive Committee decided to give the North/Central America and Caribbean region the same 3.5 spots it was awarded for the 2010 tournament.
Under the allotment, CONCACAF will have three guaranteed spots; the fourth-place finisher in its qualifying competition will have a chance to reach Brasil ’14 through a home-and-home playoff with a nation from another regional confederation.
South America will have 4.5 qualifying berths, plus Brazil’s automatic spot as host. Europe will keep its 13 berths, and Africa its five. Once again, Asia will have 4.5 and Oceania 0.5.
One change: A draw will be held in July to determine the playoff pairings among the CONCACAF fourth-place finisher, South America’s No. 5, Asia’s No. 5 and the Oceania winner.
The outcome, nevertheless, left CONCACAF officials–among them president Jack Warner of Trinidad & Tobago, who said in January that his region would lobby for an outright fourth berth– disappointed, if not angry. Said CONCACAF Secretary General Chuck Blazer of the U.S., like Warner a FIFA Executive Committee member, “We are 35 members who are very serious about qualifying. We want to be treated fairly and given enough opportunity to be successful. Hear us.” [March 3]
Comment: Crocodile tears.
Much can be said about how berths have been doled out since the World Cup expanded from 24 teams to 32 for Francia ’98. Did Asia, in 2002, deserve two qualifying berths to go along with automatic berths that went to co-hosts Japan and South Korea? Should Europe, with a high of 15 nations in ’98, continue to watch its presence erode? When it comes to Africa, which had six total slots at South Africa ’10 and saw only Ghana survive the second round, will FIFA continue to reward that continent based on, presumably, promise alone?
For now, FIFA uncharacteristically got it right, for the most part. Oceania, which since Australia’s defection to Asia has become New Zealand and the Eight Dwarves, truly does not deserve a straight path to a World Cup. South America, with Brazil holding one spot, deserves its five qualifying spots. And CONCACAF, which to most of FIFA is Mexico and the U.S.–plus, depending on the year, Costa Rica or Honduras or Canada or T&T or Jamaica, plus a couple dozen dots in the Caribbean–deserves its 3.5.
At the last World Cup, the U.S., though first in its group at 1-0-2, and Mexico (second, 1-1-1) and Honduras (0-2-1) failed to turn the tournament on its ear. CONCACAF’s fourth-place team, Costa Rica, dropped its playoff with Uruguay, although it should be noted that the Uruguayans went on to reach the semifinals.
If CONCACAF wants its fourth, it will have to overwhelm FIFA with its performance in Brazil. The USA’s appearance in the 2002 quarterfinals won’t do, nor will Mexico’s in 1986, when it was host. It will take that combined, plus a repeat of Uruguay1930, to do it. That time, the U.S., 32 years before the founding of CONCACAF, finished third.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2007 Pan American Games, 2016 Summer Olympics, Brasil '14, Brazil, Brazilian Audit Court, Buenos Aires, Estadio Mario Filho o Maracana, Joao Havelange, Pele, Salvador, Sao Paolo, Uruguay, Viracopos airport
The pressure on Brazil’s World Cup organizers increased considerably with the release of a report from a government watchdog group highly critical of officials for missing deadlines and allowing costs to spiral in preparations for Brasil ’14, all the while lacking in transparency.
The Brazilian Audit Court, the body responsible for monitoring how public money is spent in the country, said organizers were falling behind in upgrading stadiums, airports and infrastructure ahead of the 32-team, 64-match event.
The report comes on the heels of remarks by Pele and fellow Brazilian Joao Havelange, a six-term FIFA president, who expressed concerns about the pace of work.
The Audit Court found widespread problems in most of the 12 host cities and cited a “very great risk” of misuse of public funds, a concern that recalled preparations for the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, which will host key World Cup games as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics. [February 23]
Comment: Though not the first World Cup host nation to appear to be in over its head dozens of months before its big moment, Brazil is following in the proud tradition of, well, Brazil.
The Brazilians hosted their first World Cup in 1950 and built the massive, eye-popping Estadio Mario Filho o Maracana in Rio for the occasion–that is, they almost built it. When the 178,000-seat stadium welcomed a world-record throng of 220,000 (thanks to ample standing room) for the final between Brazil and Uruguay, this architectural marvel was far from complete. That wouldn’t happen until, officially, 1965, when the Maracana was already showing signs of disrepair. Now there are doubts that this same stadium will be ready for its second close-up, as site of some of the marquee matches in 2014.
Things like that happen in this proud, stunning, maddening, dysfunctional, potentially great nation–just ask any Brazilian. But for the vast majority of fans who plan to watch Brasil ’14 on television, the concern is not be on whether World Cup tourists will be able fly from the Salvador airport in the northeast to Viracopos airport outside Sao Paolo but whether the Brazilian team can get into the final on home soil and, unlike their 1950 predecessors, win it.
This will be the first World Cup in two dozen years in which, unfortunately, there will be unbearable pressure on the host team to win it all. And as we have seen, there’s something very stifling about such tournaments. At the most recent, Italia ’90, the expectations of a nation seemed to suck the goals right out of the proceedings (an all-time low of 2.21 goals per game); at Argentina ’78, as the Argentines took the final in overtime amidst a shower of confetti in Buenos Aires, the end result, for non-Argentines, was empty, like watching soccer played according to a script.
With that in mind, for those rooting for a great tournament, one that reflects the joy, color and passion of Brazil, we are all forced into the position of rooting for the Brazilian team as it makes its tortured way to what is fully expected by 165 million countrymen to be an appearance in the final, where it will finally avenge that loss to Uruguary in 1950. But if Brazil performs as it did in its most recent friendly, an uninspiring 1-0 loss to France in Paris, the only question will be just when the local atmosphere surrounding the 20th World Cup goes from carnaval to funeral.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 2018 World Cup, 2022 World Cup, Associated Press, Brazil, CNN, FIFA Executive Committee, FIFA Senior Vice President Harry Cavan, Fourth of July, Fox Soccer Channel, Internet, KNX, Morocco, Movenpick Hotel, Olympic Games, Regulus Room
Fox Soccer Channel, already running a daily countdown graphic in the upper corner of your television screen, plans extensive coverage of the Thursday, December 2, FIFA Executive Committee vote on the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
“Fox Soccer Report Special, D-Day Minus One” will air Wednesday, December 1, at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. “D-Day Minus One” will be reprised Friday, December 2, at 9 a.m., followed at 9:30 a.m. by live coverage of the announcements from Zurich. (Note: all times Eastern Standard.) [November 28]
Comment: Has America changed in the nearly 22 years since the U.S. was awarded its first World Cup? There certainly was no soccer-specialty cable channel around in 1988 to cover the announcement that the United States had beaten out Morocco and Brazil. (For the record, it was 10 votes to seven and two, respectively.) There was no Internet, as we know it, so there was no www.fifa.com. There was the nascent CNN, rare in American homes. So it’s a personal anecdote that perhaps best encapsules the times:
The Executive Committe balloting to choose the host of the 15th World Cup had been moved by FIFA from June 30 to July 4, seen by many as a clear signal that the votes had lined up in the USA’s favor. Nevertheless, advance coverage in the American mainstream media was almost non-existent. This was just a World Cup, after all, not an Olympic Games. On the Fourth of July, the winner was announced by FIFA Senior Vice President Harry Cavan at 1:21 p.m. local time in the Regulus Room of Zurich’s Movenpick Hotel. So for one bleary eyed West Coast fan–nine time zones away in the pre-dawn darkness, anticipating a 1 o’clock, Swiss time, announcement–there was an additional wait of almost 25 minutes for the local all-news radio station to air its next twice-hourly sports report.
At 4:45 a.m. (PDT), baseball scores and tennis results–nothing more. Where to turn? There was the temptation to call the Associated Press in New York, but perhaps there was a delay in the vote; surely the radio would bring the news in its next sportscast. However, at 5:15 a.m., once again it was baseball and tennis, plus a bit of golf, so an anxious call was placed to the radio station’s newsroom.
Caller: “Was the U.S. awarded the rights to host the 1994 World Cup? Y’know, in soccer.”
KNX: ”Don’t know. I’ll check sports.” (A muffled, “Hey, did the U.S. get the ’94 soccer World Cup?”) [Long pause] “Yeah.”
Caller: “The U.S. did get it?”
Caller: “When did it come in?”
KNX: (Muffled, again.) [Pause] “He says about an hour ago.”
Caller: “Thank you.”
For the record, KNX reported the fact that the U.S. would host the biggest single-sport event in the world during its 5:45 a.m. sportscast to a listenership busy sleeping in on a national holiday.
[See the first A New Bid, A Whole New America; November 17; below.]