World Cup to USA
By Bill Clinton*
This past summer I joined thousands of fans in the
stands of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg,
South Africa, to watch as the United States faced a
strong Ghana team during the round of 16 at the FIFA
I had changed my schedule to attend the game,
following an exhilarating U.S. win over Algeria in
the first round. Even though Ghana defeated the
U.S., I was proud of our team. They played well and
fought to the very end.
Iím always amazed by the gameís powerful, unifying
force. For 30 days, fans from all nations put aside
their differences to embrace a shared love for a
game that has been bringing people together for
In 1994, when I was president, it was a great thrill
to sit in the stands at Soldier Field in Chicago
with more than 67,000 enthusiastic fans, including
German chancellor Helmut Kohl and the president of
Bolivia, Gonzalo SŠnchez de Lozada, in the opening
game of the World Cup.
It was the first time - and so far, the last time -
that World Cup games were played on American soil.
Iím trying to change that by serving as the Honorary
Chairman of the USA Bid Committee to bring the World
Cup back in 2022.
The bid could not come at a better time for the
game of soccer, the United States and the world.
First, the level of enthusiasm for the game has
never been greater across America. Thanks in good
part to the opportunity FIFA gave us to host the
games in 1994, we have become a nation of
footballers, young and old. The last 16 years have
seen the creation of the MLS professional league, an
expansion of the gameís United States fan base to
more than 90 million and now a roster of four
million registered youth players. Last summer our
passion for the sport extended beyond our borders:
The United States was second only to South Africa in
tickets purchased for the 2010 World Cup.
Second, our nation, like the game, is more
diverse than ever before. We have a fascinating mix
of ethnicities and cultures within our borders.
Players from every competing nation would feel as
though they were playing a home game right here in
the United States.
Third, this is an important moment for the future of
the game of soccer. Our bid promises not only to
uphold the great legacy of the World Cup but also to
advance global growth by creating new opportunities
for the worldís soccer economy, including greater
television and sponsorship rights, increased
franchise and team values and greater investment in
Last, and perhaps most important, our bid will
mobilize American citizens and citizens around the
globe to do more to address the economic, social and
environmental challenges facing our world in the
21st century. If awarded the opportunity, we will
use the 2022 World Cup as a platform to assist those
less fortunate and promote environmental
sustainability in line with the United Nationsí
Millennium Development Goals. For example, a
percentage of every ticket sold at the 2022 World
Cup will go to the World Cup of Life campaign, a
project aimed at providing drinking water for
millions in the developing world. Additionally, as
hosts, we would set new standards in environmental
responsibility by minimizing the footprint of the
event in six core areas: water, waste, energy,
transportation, procurement and climate change.
In our interdependent world we have to change our
theory of success from a zero-sum game, where one
team has to win while the other must lose. Itís good
for sports, and makes for great World Cup matches,
but itís wrong for the world. We need to build a
world with more winners.
Our bid will do just that. In 1988 FIFA had the
foresight to recognize the potential of the United
States. Twenty-two years later, we are ready to
demonstrate to the world how much more the United
States has to offer and how far our nation is
willing to go to deliver an outstanding tournament.
If the United States is selected to host the FIFA
World Cup, we will be extremely privileged - and
ready - to honor the sport of soccer and all that it
represents for the fan, for the game and for the
world. - [CNN]
*President Clinton is Honorary Chairman, USA Bid
Committee for FIFA World Cup 2022. He will be part
of the USA presentation delegation on Dec. 1 in
Zurich. On Dec. 2 FIFA will announce the host
nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.