US Bid Has Commitment Issues

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | View Comments

Technical reports on FIFA's World Cup bid inspections are due to be posted to the governing body's website tomorrow morning; per POLITICO, the US bid faces concerns over the level of government commitment.

The summary posted notes that while the bid's venues and infrastructure are beyond reproach, necessary "Government Guarantees" have not been documented.  Ben Smith of POLITICO characterizes FIFA as being wary of domestic politics and the fallout from recent midterm elections; with government spending a hot button topic, there is understandable doubt that Congress will take the action necessary to ensure funds are available for a 2022 tournament in the United States.

The inspection team labeled FIFA's legal risk "medium." A Congressional resolution in support of the bid could fail in the wake of major changes to the legislative body's makeup.  FIFA could still award the bid to the US, with the requirement that legal framework be in place by a June 2013 deadline.

Text from the summary relating to legal risk and government guarantees:

If the USA is awarded hosting rights, FIFA's legal risk appears to be medium. Whilst the necessary government support has not been documented as neither the Government Guarantees, the Government Declaration nor the Government Legal Statement have been provided in compliance with FIFA's requirements for government documents, the US Government has considerable experience in supporting the hosting and staging of major sports events and has proven its willingness to make material concessions, accommodate the concerns of event organizers, and has expressed its intention to enact the necessary legislation by 1 June 2013. Furthermore, the requirements for contractual documents have been met.

Beyond governmental guarantees, the report summary is decidedly positive.  The only requirement not met, per the inspection team, is the securing of necessary training venues.  The size of the country is noted as impacting the bid, though the quality of the air transportation system lessens those concerns.

The bid's projected budget is $661.2 million.

Accommodations are ample, venues exist in abundance and without need to build further (though some venues would need seats removed to fit regulation fields) and available tickets are reported to be over 4.9 million. Though POLITICO colors the government issues as a sticking point and political situation as troubling, it's difficult to imagine Congress refusing to pass the legislation needed if the US wins the 2022 bid on December 2nd.

Ultimately, FIFA politics and collusion will be the bid's biggest obstacles, not concerns over Congressional commitment.

(H/T VercengetorixII on Twitter)
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