If you haven’t heard by now, Barack Obama has formally written to FIFA President Sepp Blatter to “signal” his support for the United States’ bid for hosting the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
The letter is an act designed to generate political goodwill – it shows to the world that the US is more than just about fighting terrorism and debt, and it shows to the American people that the President cares about the same things that everyday Americans care about.
Regardless of what you think about football in America (fans or players), the fact remains that any global event hosted in the United States will be a fantastic money-maker, and that will be one of the driving factors behind any decision to select a World Cup host. As we discussed last month, England, USA and Australia are the three countries in the front-running for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Barack’s letter makes no difference to FIFA’s decision – he’d have had much more luck writing to Jack Warner offering him exclusive ticketing rights or inviting FIFA committee to a dinner at the White House (if the Aussies can wine and dine the FIFA committee on their private yachts, the least the Americans do is make them feel important).
When Barack talks about his youth and his daughter’s soccer team, he’s talking to the American people and giving them another reason to like him, it has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with FIFA, nor will it ever make a difference to the decision committee.
Extracts from Barack’s letter, courtesy of the Guardian:
“As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighbourhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago.”
“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe. That is why this bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams.”
Fifa will make their decision for the 2018 and 2022 finals in December 2010.