VANCOUVER: United States Soccer was celebrating the women’s side winning the World Cup last night while still having its eyes on another prize in the hosting of the men’s 2026 FIFA World Cup writes CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE.
Head of US Soccer and FIFA executive committee member Sunil Gulati was at Vancouver’s BC Place stadium to watch as the national team beat Japan 5-2 to lift the trophy.
His counterpart at Canadian Soccer, Victor Montagliani, repeated before the final that the hosts would look at bidding to host the men’s World Cup in 2026 following the “success” of this tournament.
The US has indicated its own ambition to host the showpiece in 2026 and Gulati welcomed the competition from his north American neighbours.
“I think the organising committee here did a great job – it’s been a smashing success in every way,” said Gulati. “I think Victor [Montagliani] and his group have been terrific hosts and he’s made it clear they are thinking about bidding. So, competition is always good.”
Mexico has also announced an intention to compete for 2026.
Canada would have to look first at installing real grass pitches before deciding on a bid as players’ union FIFPro insisted on Friday that no future World Cup would be played on artificial turf with its consent.
Talk of bids are still in the theoretical stage as FIFA negotiates the crisis over the investigations into alleged corruption in world soccer which saw several FIFA officials arrested in Zurich in May.
The fallout from the respective inquiries from the US department of Justice and Swiss authorities prevented president Sepp Blatter and secretary-general Jerome Valcke from attending the Women’s World Cup Final.
A FIFA spokesperson confirmed just hours before kick-off that vice-president and head of African soccer Issa Hayatou was to hand the trophy to the winning captain.
His entrance to the podium, along with executive committee members Lydia Nsekera and Moya Dodd, was greeted by a chorus of boos from the 53,341 crowd. The reputation of FIFA was still at a low point despite Blatter’s no-show.