NEW YORK: Sunil Gulati has confirmed that he will not stand for re-election in the spring to the presidency of the United States Soccer Federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Gulati came under critical fire after the US failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia after losing their last tie to Trinidad & Tobago.

The 58-year-old economics lecturer had led the US game since 2006 while rising within the world federation FIFA to become a member of the governing council.

He said: “I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and talking about it with people in many different positions — many of whom told me I should run. But in the end, I think the best thing for me personally, and for the federation, is to see someone new in the job.”

Gulati has indicated he wishes to continue on the FIFA Council as a representative of the central and north American confederation and it is expected that he would remain head of the joint bid from the US, Canada and Mexico for the 2026 World Cup.

A vote is due in June and a change of leadership now could be damaging.

So far seven candidates have registered an interest in replacing Gulati including former players Paul Caligiuri and Eric Wynalda. An early favourite is the Soccer United Marketing president Kathy Carter.