Jack Bell spoke with Alan I. Rothenberg, who presided over a startlingly successful World Cup in the United States in 1994, on the USA's chances to win the right to host the 2022 World Cup.
"A certain amount of people in the soccer world will always see the U.S. as the Wild West,” Rothenberg said. “But they know what we did in ‘94 and know that when top national and club teams come here there have been sellouts. It’s a great thing for us.
“It’s just my personal opinion, but even if people are politically upset with us, they all still love coming here. The members of the FIFA Exo love coming to the U.S. You can’t discount what a month-plus of traveling around this country is worth. Qatar may have lovely hotels, but who’s going to want to leave them in that heat?”
On winning the 1994 World Cup bid, Rothenberg said, “When the Cup was given to us in ‘88 we only had Morocco to beat out. FIFA wanted to come here. Our bid was literally on the back of an envelope where this time the bid book was 16 volumes. ... In ‘88, they went out on the limb. This time we are the sure, safe bet. ... We’ve made a ton of progress: when we got the Cup in ‘88 there was no pro league, now the pro league continues to grow and build; the national team has done well; and for the last World Cup the TV rights brought FIFA more money that from any country in the world."