Inspectors from football's world governing body, FIFA, made a three-day, five-city whirlwind visit to the United States this week to help them assess the country's bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
FIFA delegation head Harold Mayne-Nicholls of Chile said the group gathered all the necessary information to present a complete report to FIFA's executive committee. He added that the USA has a number of "excellent" potential venues in its bid.
They include large NFL stadiums in or near all five cities they visited - New York, Washington, Miami, Dallas and Houston.
Mayne-Nicholls said FIFA is "absolutely positive" that World Cup requirements for training sites, accommodations, security and transportation would be met by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Federation president Sunil Gulati, head of the U.S. World Cup bid committee, told a media teleconference Friday that the advantages of having a World Cup here in the near future are obvious. "We've got 18 cities that we've put forth as possible candidates. That gives us extraordinary flexibility. We have multiple stadiums that could meet FIFA's requirements for a World Cup final or for an opening game. Very few of the candidates could promise that. We have multiple cities that are capable of hosting things like the international broadcast center, a FIFA Congress, or a World Cup draw. Those are all positives," he said.
Europe, however, is expected to be awarded the 2018 World Cup, with England, Russia, and joint bids from Spain and Portugal, and Belgium and the Netherlands competing against the United States. For 2022, the U.S. is up against Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea.
Gulati said he discussed several FIFA concerns like field sizes and quality of the some of the playing surfaces, security and government involvement. "I think they recognize that we have dealt with virtually all of those issues, whether it was at the previous World Cup (1994 in the U.S.), whether it's been in our Olympic proposals, certainly in this bid proposal, or in events that happen all of the time," he said.
Gulati told FIFA that another World Cup in the United States would likely set records for ticket sales, international visitors and media rights revenues.
FIFA's 24-member executive committee will vote on the hosts for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments on December 2.