[MY VIEW]A personal appeal by President Nicolas Sarkozy to the UEFA executive committee on Friday tipped the balance in favor of France, which won the right to host Euro 2016 in a 7-6 vote over Turkey. It raises the question, will President Barack Obama go to Zurich in early December in support of the USA's bid to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup?
American soccer has certainly raised its profile in high political circles, what with the U.S. national team's visit to the White House on Thursday, former President Bill Clinton's involvement in the USA Bid Committee as honorary chairman and Vice President Joseph Biden's plans to attend the World Cup.
While the U.S. national team's visit with Obama was short and ceremonial, it was significant that Obama took the time to greet the national team on a critical day to his presidency. Obama held his first press conference in 10 months to talk of the U.S. government's response to the Gulf oil spill.
Obama did travel to Copenhagen where the IOC voted on the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics. His hometown, Chicago, eliminated in the first round of voting. Rio de Janeiro eventually won.
Clinton has been dubbedObama's "Mr. Fix-it" on several political fronts and appears set to be political point person in the high-stakes campaign to win the right to host the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
He remains very popular in much of the world, especially in Africa, which will be a "swing vote" in the World Cup campaigns.
But as France won a narrow victory in its Euro 2016 bid, the USA faces a tight race from Qatar and Australia, among others, in its 2022 bid.
In terms of stadiums and infrastructure, the USA has no competition, but Qatar and Australia are backed by powerful and wealthy interests.
UEFA President Michel Platini said the presence of Sarkozy was the difference for France.
"If he hadn't come," Platini said, "Turkey would almost certainly have won."
What will FIFA President Sepp Blatter be saying on Dec. 2?