Sunil Gulati: 'A great bid ... sharp disappointment'

[WORLD CUP 2022] Despite being the USA being only contender for the 2022 World Cup to get a 100 percent rating in the FIFA-commissioned “World Cup Host Candidate Report,” the FIFA executive committee voted to give the tournament to Qatar. For reactions from Sunil Gulati, the U.S. Soccer president and bid committee chairman ...

“We had a great bid and I think we’ve told a great story that is accurate about American soccer,” said Gulati. “We’re disappointed for our committee, for the millions of fans that got behind the bid, and everyone that’s been involved, the cities around the country, starting at the White House and President Clinton, who has been fantastic. There’s no other response or feeling that you are going to have in such a situation other than sharp disappointment.”

Voting went four rounds, with Qatar getting the most votes in each round while the USA received three, five, six in the first three rounds, respectively, before losing 14-8 to Qatar in the final round.

"It is clear and it has been widely reported over the past several months that there was the possibility of some alliances and the numbers would seem to bear that out," Gulati said. “Whether that’s independent of those supposed alliances or related to them I don’t know.

“It’s also clear that in the first, the second and maybe even the third round, certainly in our case, there was some tactical voting. And what I mean by that, groups using a vote or two to make sure someone else wasn’t eliminated in order to get some help later on.

“We knew that going in, which explains some of the odd vote patterns in our case.”

The vote in favor of Qatar took place after Russia prevailed to land the 2018 World Cup.

"It's politics, it's friendships and relationships, it's alliances, it's tactics," Gulati said. "There are far too many permutations, especially with two World Cups being decided on the same day, and I am not smart enough to figure out how all those played out in these two elections.”

Asked if the voting process should be reevaluated by FIFA, Gulati said:

“I am sure FIFA is going to evaluate this process. The President [Sepp Blatter] has said in retrospect that they shouldn’t have done two (World Cup bids) at the same time and given some of the other things that have happened along the way, I am sure they are going to review. But that’s up to FIFA and not something I am going to comment on today.”

7 comments about "Sunil Gulati: 'A great bid ... sharp disappointment'".
  1. Kyr-Roger St.-Denis, December 2, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.

    We probably lost the bid because (1) we weren't willing enough to grease palms, and (2) we make it so very difficult for foreigners to come to the US. I expect to hear a lot about (2), but not much about (1).

  2. Carlos Thys, December 3, 2010 at 3:13 a.m.

    It is amazing that 22 flunkies (fat, out-of-shape, overpaid FIFA execs in ugly suits) get to decide so much about the game we love. Mr. Gulati, I do not at all appreciate your involvement of Mr. Clinton (yes, he is and will always remain a national embarrasment), but that is my only complaint. The fix was in. We can all see this as Qatar obtains 11 votes in the very first round and Australia only gets 1 vote. Qatar never has fewer than 10 votes. Japan drops out after Australia. Yes, the fix was obvious for all to see. An even old duffers like Beckenbauer and Platini (sorry, for both their minds and bodies have long passed their "shelf lives") know that it is impossible to be an athlete of any kind in Qatar in June and July of ANY year -- even if you are just skeet shooting or playing shuffleboard. Aside from trying to win the bid through involvement of politicians and celebrities (yes, the "bribe" people that FIFA execs leggy, blonde Hollywood stars), you did nothing wrong. Having lived abroad for many years, I know that the average international travelling football fans gladly come to the USA for sporting and cultural events. They drool at our Super Bowl; they gape at the NBA finals; and they all want to see Times Square and all that Orlando has to offer. A men's World Cup 2022 would have been no exception. Please don't ever think to stoop to the levels that Russia and Qatar just employed to win. That is not victory. The Game is still in US and will remain so for decades to come. (I will witness this again tonight in near freezing temperatures as a vigorous group of 50 men -- men from 5 different continents -- will gather in near darkness to kick, shout, run, scream, and sweat as we once again embrace this beautiful game.) Next thread: Jettisoning FIFA and starting the "next world body of real football."

  3. Philippe Fontanelli, December 3, 2010 at 9:51 a.m.

    I recall in a previous SA article stating Gulati's excuse for reselecting Bradley as the head-coach for the USMNT as he was too busy concetrating on the main priority "landing the WC 2022 for the US". Gulati is an idiot he can't accomplish anything. He is not a soccer officianado, he is not fan of US Soccer, he is not a sales and marketing pro; he wasn't well preperad against "mighty" Quatar. He should have known that all that effort was inane and futile and concetrate on the future of the USMNT. The man is a moron he is like "Bush", need I say more? Just look at the other countries soccer bosses and we have a "peep squeak". Where are the "Rothenbergs" or likes?

  4. Eddie Rockwell, December 3, 2010 at 11:35 a.m.

    Carlos, well said. Antonio, you're off the mark on Gulati. We lost the bid because we weren't willing to bribe the FIFA execs like Qatar did. Taking a personal shot at Gulati who has put his heart & soul into US Soccer for many, many years is misplaced anger...

  5. David Huff, December 3, 2010 at 1:37 p.m.

    I agree to an extent that Gulati was not to blame on the 2022 bid attempt. That said, I feel that a house cleaning needs to take place at USSF starting with the removal of Gulati, Flynn and Bradley as obstacles to the development of a USMNT program that can be internationally competitive and has a fighting chance to progess deeply into WC competition.

  6. Philippe Fontanelli, December 3, 2010 at 2:58 p.m.

    Sorry to hear some of you gentlemen condoning and accepting Gulati. Gulatiis weak on the world soccer scene no backbones, no drives he is just meek. It shows ny his selection of Bradley a YES Man to him. He is afraid of a strong person with a mind of it's own. He is a control freak but only capable of that in his own midst. If you are a strong character you shouldn't be afraid hire someone better than you, on the contrary. He can't even face up to Klinsman, so how can you expect him to dominate soccer officianodos, decision makers at FIFA So gentlemen stop dreaming and wake up and face the world and reality.

  7. Carlos Thys, December 4, 2010 at 1:29 a.m.

    Antonio, you miss the point. There is nothing anyone could have done. Mr. Gulati is not superman, nor are any of us. It is indeed not difficult to bribe or extort or blackmail. It is even easier when you can focus the efforts on just 10-16 craven, fallen, weak individuals, in this case, FIFA executives. The Russians are masterminds at this and have exercised no scruples in doing this on the global stage for issues and events far more significant than a simple sporting tournament. The Qataris just employed the same tactics with their own "twists." Again, not hard to do when most men will settle for 1 mio. Euro and no threat to their frail egos through "untimely revelations" about their personal lives. Japan, South Korea, and Australia also had very competent, very professional, very workable Copa Mundial 2022 plans. And relax. Our women are already deservedly several times over Olimpic and World Cup champions. The men's side is coming along just fine frankly. Or did you think their win over Spain in June 2009 undeserved?

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