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FIFA REPS BEGIN TOUR OF FACILITIES INCLUDED IN U.S. WORLD CUP BID

The five-member FIFA Inspection Delegation began its tour of American soccer facilities today as part of the U.S.’ bid process to host either the '18 or '22 World Cups. The group, led by Chilean Football Federation President Harold Mayne-Nicholls, will visit major stadiums and training sites and meet with city leaders in five of the 18 candidate host cities: N.Y., DC, Miami, Dallas and Houston. “This is very much a technical inspection tour,” Mayne-Nicholls told reporters at the St. Regis hotel in Manhattan. He added the group would also examine each city's transportation and telecommunication infrastructure.

The group last night met with N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. The group will also dine at the White House tomorrow morning alongside members of the Obama administration and current U.S. men’s national soccer team coach Bob Bradley. Sunil Gulati, President of the U.S. Soccer Federation and Chair of the USA Bid Committee, called the process of wooing FIFA “a tough fight.” Gulati: “We hosted [the World Cup] in 1994, and some may view that as not long ago enough. There is a general feeling that 2018 is favored for Europe. We are happy to wait for 2022 if that is FIFA’s wish.”

The inspection runs through Thursday. The group’s itinerary includes stops at Red Bull Arena, New Meadowlands Stadium, the Washington Monument, FedExField, Sun Life Stadium, Cowboys Stadium, Reliant Stadium and the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The inspection delegation will report its findings to the 24-person FIFA Exec Committee, which will make its decision on Dec. 2.

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