Soccer’s most powerful officials are meeting in Switzerland this week to decide which countries will get to host the World Cup in 2018 and 2022, with a formal announcement expected tomorrow. The U.S. is one of five finalists to host the world’s most popular sports tournament in 2022.
If the U.S. gets the games, some of the matches will be played right here at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, which would be one of 18 host cities. (It’s listed as Boston on the official website.) Patriots owner Bob Kraft is on the board of directors for the 2022 U.S. bid.
These would be the first World Cup games at Gillette, though the old Foxboro Stadium hosted in 1994, eight years before Gillette opened. The stadium’s fields were upgraded to meet FIFA’s standards last winter.
Bloomberg News sets the scene ahead of tomorrow’s 10 a.m. announcement:
Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, will decide Dec. 2 where sport’s most-watched event takes place. Before that, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.K.’s Prince William and the Emir of Qatar will try to charm the 22 voters on FIFA’s executive committee.
The decision is worth billions of dollars to hosts, sponsors and FIFA, a not-for-profit organization that gets most of its income from sales related to the quadrennial tournament. The U.S., one of five candidates for 2022, says a World Cup generates about $5 billion.
“If somebody has decided that he will go with a candidate, this endorsement of interest by royalty or the prime minister or the president of the country really tells you not to have any other thoughts in the last minute,” Marios Lefkaritis, a delegate on the FIFA body that makes the decision, said in an interview. The Cypriot declined to say who he’ll vote for.
Australia, Qatar, Japan and South Korea make up the remaining 2022 candidates. The 2018 race is all-European as England competes with Russia and joint offers from Spain/Portugal and the Netherlands/Belgium. Brazil hosts the 2014 tournament.
A majority vote is required. If that isn’t immediately attained the lowest-scoring bids are eliminated in further voting rounds.