Soccerstoriesbook's Blog


A NEW BID, A WHOLE NEW AMERICA

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in support of the efforts to bring the 2022 World Cup to America.  Introduced in late September, the resolution was sponsored by the chairpersons of the bipartisan Congressional Soccer Caucus:  Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Dave Reichert of Washington, and two House members from California, George Miller and Mary Bono Mack, the widow of Sonny Bono.

“We welcome today’s House resolution as another example of the overwhelming endorsement our bid effort has received from all levels of government throughout the process,” said Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer and chairman of the USA Bid Committee.  “This resolution further reinforces our country’s commitment to FIFA that we will meet all requirements for a World Cup hosted in the United States.”

The USA’s presentation to the FIFA Executive Committee in Zurich  is scheduled for the evening of December 1; the committee will vote the next day.  Also contending are South Korea, Qatar, Australia and Japan.  [November 17]

Comment:  It’s been a long time since the USA’s first successful bid to host a World Cup, nearly a quarter-century ago.  From “Soccer Stories”:

Soccer for years has been a favorite target of gridiron football types, from prep coaches lamenting the defection of their school’s best athletes for the soccer field to the likes of Rep. Jack Kemp (R-NY), a former NFL, CFL and AFL quarterback and vice presidential candidate.

In 1987, Kemp, prior to what should have been a routine House vote endorsing the USA’s bid to host the 1994 World Cup, told his fellow Congressmen, in part, “I think it is important for all those youngsters out there, who someday hope to play real football, where you throw it and kick it and run with it and put it in your hands, a distinction should be made that football is democratic, capitalism, whereas soccer is . . . European socialist.”

Throw it, run with it, put it in your hands . . . yes, Kemp was referring to a game called “football.” 

It should be noted that the late Kemp got it wrong on both counts.  It’s pro football that has a player draft and salary restrictions, devices put in place to foster parity among its franchises.  Meanwhile, it’s international soccer, where player drafts are unknown and the deepest pockets reign, that’s a model of dog-eat-dog capitalism.  Kemp evidently never noticed that soccer is the sport with a club called Millonarios.

Update:  The U.S. Senate passed a resolution in support of the U.S. bid, giving GoUSABid the full support of Congress.  Even the most conservative member of the upper chamber, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), who represents a state where males have been known to be born wearing helmets and shoulder pads (ouch), did not run interference during the vote.  [November 19]

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