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Kissinger aids U.S.'s World Cup effort


From U.S. Soccer:

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced on Monday that former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger has accepted an invitation to join the USA Bid Committee and help drive the county’s bid for the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. The USA Bid Committee is putting together a comprehensive bid to present to FIFA by May 2010.

“We are very pleased to have Dr. Kissinger join us in our endeavor to bring back the World Cup to the United States,” said Gulati. “He’s done a tremendous amount for the sport in this country and his enthusiasm and knowledge of soccer will surely help us to earn the right to once again host the biggest sporting event in the world.”

One of the most prominent political figures in U.S. history, Dr. Kissinger has been a longtime supporter of soccer and has contributed greatly to raising the visibility of the sport in the United States. He was a crucial figure in helping bring the 1994 FIFA World Cup to the United States, serving as chairman of a 16-member advisory panel. In 1996, FIFA honored Dr. Kissinger with the Order of Merit for his service to the sport across the world.

Dr. Kissinger served as the 56th Secretary of State from 1973-77. During that time he also held the position of Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, which he first assumed in 1969 until 1975. Since leaving government service, he founded Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm, and holds the title of chairman of the company.

Throughout his career, Dr. Kissinger has received numerous prestigious awards for his diplomacy, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Dr. Kissinger also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation’s highest civilian award) in 1977 and the Medal of Liberty (given to 12 foreign-born American leaders in celebration of the centennial for the Statue of Liberty) in 1986.

"I am looking forward to being actively involved in the USA's bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups," said Kissinger. "The U.S. put on a fantastic World Cup in 1994 and we know if provided the opportunity to host the tournament again we will put together an event that will amaze soccer fans across the world."

Dr. Kissinger joins five other members on the USA Bid Committee: Gulati, who will serve as the Chair of the Bid Committee, Carlos Cordeiro, non-executive Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs (Asia), U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Phil Murphy, the former National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee. The Executive Director of the Bid Committee is David Downs. Cordeiro, an independent director on U.S. Soccer’s Board of Directors, was appointed as a Committee member last month. Other members of the USA Bid Committee will be announced in the near future.

The U.S. is one of nine countries that have formally declared their desire to submit a bid. The others are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia, with joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain. Qatar and South Korea are applying solely for the 2022 tournament. FIFA’s 24-man Executive Committee will review each country’s bid and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups in December 2010.

In 1994, the U.S. hosted the FIFA World Cup for the first time and silenced a world of doubters on how the sport would be received in the United States. World Cup USA 1994 was the most successful event in FIFA history, demonstrating the United States’ ability to stage major international events, and Americans’ ability to embrace the world’s most popular sport.

The cumulative attendance of 3,587,538 broke the previous record by more than one million, and the average attendance for the 52-game tournament of 68,911 also established a new mark. On July 17, 1994, Brazil and Italy disputed the FIFA World Cup title in front of 94,194 fans at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. Overall, U.S. stadiums were filled to 96 percent capacity during the World Cup.