U.S. withdraws 2018 World Cup bid

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 4:40 PM ET

NEW YORK -- The USA Bid Committee announced on Friday that it has withdrawn from the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid and will exclusively focus on the 2022 campaign.

The decision comes after several months of careful deliberation with FIFA, UEFA and members of the USA Bid board of directors. Four European candidates now remain in the race for 2018 (Belgium/Netherlands, England, Russia and Spain/Portugal).

Since the FIFA Statutes indicate that the competition cannot be held on the same continent on two successive occasions, the 2022 campaign will now be between Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar and the United States.

"For some time we have been in conversations with FIFA and UEFA about the possibility of focusing only on the 2022 bidding process, an option we have made reference to many times," said Sunil Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee and president of U.S. Soccer. "We are confident this is in the best interests of the USA Bid."

"We have had an open and constructive dialogue with the USA Bid for some time now after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Europe," said FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke. "The announcement today by the USA Bid to focus solely on the 2022 FIFA World Cup is therefore a welcome gesture which is much appreciated by FIFA."

The FIFA Executive Committee will gather in Zurich, Switzerland on October 28 and 29 to discuss a number of items, including the final voting process for the selection of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.


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