Downs will set up office in New York on the work to submit the final paperwork to FIFA in the process that will conclude in December 2010 with a decision by FIFA's executive committee on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.
Downs, a former player at Amherst College, enters into his new position after serving more than 30 years in the broadcast industry as an executive with both ABC and Univision. During his time at both networks, Downs participated in successful negotiations with FIFA to acquire the U.S. television rights to every World Cup, beginning with USA '94 and including the 2010 and 2014 tournaments.
"I know that the United States has all of the qualities necessary to once again host a first-class tournament," said Downs. "We have dozens of high-capacity, state-of-the-art stadiums as well as the municipal infrastructure that will ensure a quality experience for the athletes, the officials, the media and spectators alike.
"Since we last held the World Cup in 1994, the U.S. has grown tremendously as a soccer-friendly nation. Soccer is obviously not yet our No. 1 national sport, but we now have a flourishing professional league, soccer-only television networks in both English and Spanish-language and a national team that consistently ranks in the top 25 in the world and actually has participated in five straight World Cup tournaments, which is a feat matched by only six other countries on the planet.
"More than that, the United States is a nation that is founded on the diversity of its people and a nation which, arguably, still sets the world standard for diversity to this day. We're a country where every family can find a minimum of two teams to root for and some families can boast many more than that. And, of course, we're a country that always has, and always will, open its arms to the citizens of the world. So, what better place to hold a global gathering of 32 soccer-playing nations?"