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Football: USA seeks assurances on 2026 bid process

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The president of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) said on Wednesday that his organisation will only bid to host the 2026 World Cup if FIFA tightens up its bidding process.

The United States submitted a bid to host the 2022 tournament, only to lose out to Qatar.

That was despite doubts about the Gulf state's capacity to host the event being expressed in a technical report submitted to FIFA's executive committee before the hosting rights were allocated.

USSF president Sunil Gulati, who was the head of the US bid for the 2022 tournament, called on world governing body FIFA to make the process of attributing hosting rights more robust.

"Would we be interested in bidding for 2026? The procedures would need to be very different to what they are now," he told the Leaders in Football conference in London.

"If the critical issue is taking it to new lands, then tell us in advance, because we won't bother.

"The rules need to be clearer and tighter. And the process needs to be better. If you are stepping onto a field of play, you know what the rules are.

"We'd want more clarity on the bidding and the whole process. For instance, is there going to be a system of rotation, or not? This needs to be established well enough in advance so people know.

"Also, my personal view is that it should also be a public vote. And the technical report should matter in some concrete way, otherwise it's an unnecessary expenditure of funds and time."

Last week, FIFA announced the creation of a taskforce to assess the feasibility of moving the 2022 World Cup to a different time of year in order to spare players and fans from the soaring temperatures of a Qatari summer.

Reservations about the Qatari climate were raised in the technical report compiled during the bidding process.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the leader of the FIFA inspection team that produced the report, says he was surprised that their recommendations were apparently discounted.

"I did a professional work. They asked me to do a professional work and I did it," said Mayne-Nicholls, the former president of the Chilean Football Federation.

"I was not checking if they read it or not. If they don't read it, it's not my mistake. I put it very clear: it's really, really dangerous to play in summertime in Qatar."

thw/bc

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131009/football-usa-seeks-assurances-2026-bid-process