England travels to the Caribbean this weekend to play in an exhibition match marking the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation's centenary. The English FA has admitted that the trip will be a loss-maker, but it's prepared to sacrifice both money and its players' time as it seeks CONCACAF General Secretary Jack Warner's support for its bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.
But USSF President Sunil Gulati says the trip will be a waste of time if the United States also makes a play to host the finals, because Warner would likely give his primary backing to any CONCACAF bid. "The bid process has become very competitive, and whether playing a game in Trinidad has anything to do with that I am not sure," Gulati said in London. "The FA are more sophisticated than thinking they are going to get Jack Warner's vote on the back of playing one game."
That's a kind interpretation, given the mess that the FA made of bidding for the 2006 World Cup. Or perhaps its sly reverse psychology. Either way, Gulati sounded as though he was already on the campaign trail. "We are the most diversified nation in the world," he said. "If Nigeria and Ghana played each other, it would sell out. We will be making a decision in the next two to three months, but we are looking very seriously at it. Clearly England will have a very strong bid, Spain will be a formidable candidate, Germany would be a formidable candidate. But it is not a question of fearing anyone else."