Gulati: White House needs 'outward-looking view'

U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati didn't come out and say Donald Trump would be bad for the USA and a World Cup bid, but he did make his point, saying how the world views of the next U.S. president will impact the success of such a bid and the race for the White House will have some bearing on a World Cup bid.

At a media round table for select reporters before Tuesday's USA-Costa Rica game in Chicago, Gulati was asked if Trump, whose candidacy has been widely criticized in the foreign media, would hurt the U.S. chances of winning a World Cup bid.

"I think the world’s perception of the United States is affected by who’s in the White House, yes, and so it has some bearing, sure," Gulati said. "We’re going to bid for a World Cup if we think we’re going to be successful. I think whether we can be successful in a World Cup bid, or LA in an Olympic bid, is affected by the world’s view of our leaders. And not just the leaders of the soccer federation."

The USA is expected to bid for the 2026 World Cup if the bidding conditions are acceptable. If the current eligibility requirements are confirmed -- any country except members of the Asian Football Confederation -- the USA would be the heavy favorite.

"I think having somebody in the White House that gives the country an outward-looking view and a personality that is more easily accepted around the world is positive for the United States," Gulati added. "And then more specifically to your question, for hosting events here and our general image from a sports perspective, but it’s far beyond sports."

FIFA has pushed back a decision on the 2026 World Cup host from 2017 to 2020, which helps the process of organizing support for a U.S. bid. It would come in the third year of a new administration, within the first four months.

Gulati has ties to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Her husband, Bill Clinton, chaired the unsuccessful 2022 World Cup bid. Donna E. Shalala, the president of the Clinton Foundation, is an independent member of U.S. Soccer's board of directors.
21 comments about "Gulati: White House needs 'outward-looking view'".
  1. stewart hayes, June 7, 2016 at 10:18 p.m.

    Now we have to consider who we elect for president based upon one mans opinion that it might help us land a world cup? Give it a rest Gulati.

  2. Claus Fischer, June 8, 2016 at 5:14 a.m.

    So let's follow the Gulati logic here about "world perceptions." A guy like Vlad Putin is great for things like getting IOC Winter Olympics in Socchi and then the full scale FIFA World Cup for 2018? Really? Nice try, Sunil. Gulati's opinions are meaningless. He's a schmuck at managing soccer interests yet somehow good at wading into politics and adjudging world opinions? This from the guy who lost the World Cup to Qatar in 2022?

    Does anyone ask a Gulati then if Gordon Brown or David Cameron are why England got bypassed for 2018? Or if ole Nick Sarkozy (and now Francoise Hollande) somehow impacted whether UEFA awards Euro 2016 to France? Or why Peking scored the IOC Winter Olympics? Somehow I doubt Gulati can even name the leader of Japan right now, the Japan that is hosting the IOC Summer Games in 2020.

    Gulati actually thinks himself a smart man? The awarding of where major world sporting events take place has very little to do with whomever sits in the top seats of government.

    Not good Soccer America staff. You give yourselves away when you post and highlight such a childish short article like this one above.

  3. Claus Fischer, June 8, 2016 at 5:18 a.m.

    Gulati cannot even arrange that the USA versus Costa Rica game in Chicago (home to the US Soccer HQ) is a sellout at what should be the best tournament that will ever take place during his time in charge of US Soccer. And yet he's opining about who occupies the White House and how that influences what the IOC and FIFA think. Right, those really fair and square, integrity-minded, always 100% ethical stuffed suits in Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland. Right.

  4. Richard Brown, June 8, 2016 at 7:41 a.m.

    We would do better if we won more games in international play then who is our president is going to be.

    Get rid of our men's national team coach he was never going to be the answer to our problems. We extended his contract

    Politics and sports never mixed well.

    Might be better to remove Gulati as well for making this foolish statement.

  5. Wooden Ships, June 8, 2016 at 9:15 a.m.

    Claus covered many of my thoughts. If you're anti GOP and current GOP candidate, which is fine, you will not see a problem with Gulati's comments. As Claus referenced Russia and Qatar it makes Sunil look like exactly what he is, a professor. Don't take offense, as I use to be one, but the vast majority of professors live in the fantasy world. Coincidentally, our current President and much of this administration have that background in common. As to his opinion that the rest of the world would be disappointed with whom might be elected here, I would suggest that could be true in some circles due to no longer having a US leader that is rudderless.

  6. Ric Fonseca replied, June 8, 2016 at 2:27 p.m.

    Professor Woodie: Come on now, don't put our profession (I too am a retired professor, and now hold the distinct title of PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF HISTORY) in bad light to include Sunny Sunil and Pres. Obama. Fantasy world? Hell yes, when we hope our students understand that which they're taught and get decent grades, and are capable of writing coherent essays! And BTW WS, I am also a veteran (Navy/Army) former youth, scholastic, collegiate coach and also a retired ref/assessor, and did not vote for the guy I call an overgrown and cantankerous hippie whose tie and shoes are too tight nor the guy with the funny hair. Also, Ginger is sure as hell NOT condescending, but a person whom I consider to be fair and objective. As for Sunil, well, from the time I first met him during the US Soccer convention held in Los Angeles when Alan Rothenberg was elected and thereafter, I pegged him as being very political (though I must admit I did not know then about his soccer background, other than he is from NYC (my wife grew up there in Lower Manhattan) and has a degree from Columbia? - oh wait he teaches there! I subsequently saw him climb up the US Soccer ladder, endearing himself to whomever, wherever, and even saw him do his thing before he was elected president of US Soccer (he can only be removed by the Exec Board, NOT voted out) and his current seat on FIFA's Exec Board and saw him at the WC USA 94 Final Draw in Las Vegas, hob-knobing with Henry Kisisnger and other foreign lumniaries. It was quite a sight to behold. And so, given this, let him speak out about who will be our next president, but I sincerely doubt that his (Sunil's) opinion would carry that much weight. Any how, just sayin' PLAY ON!!!

  7. Wooden Ships replied, June 8, 2016 at 4:08 p.m.

    Yeah Ric, as soon as I jumped on Ginger and sent it I regretted it. And, yes Sunil is accomplished but I still maintain that there is a disconnect from teaching and doing. If you've done both as I'm sure you have then you should know where I'm coming from. Theorists and from what I've seen of career politicians, don't accomplish practical matters of import. Ginger if you are still reading anything I post, I do apologize and that was mostly out of character for me. I know better. I've had this notion, that it would be cool to someday meet the folks the contribute on these posts, like a Soccer America cruise. And Ginger you would be at the top of that list.

  8. beautiful game, June 8, 2016 at 10:04 a.m.

    Sunil did a horrible job vetting Klinnsman...he should be fired.

  9. Ric Fonseca replied, June 8, 2016 at 11:19 p.m.

    I w, if you really, I mean r-e-a-l-l-y think that Aunil should be fired, we used to say in the Army, "never happen GI!" and if and only if he gets caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar, he'll finish his regular term as US Soccer prez, then probably get a gig with FIFA or goes back to teaching full time....

  10. Claus Fischer, June 8, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    It is a bit like assuming that many visitors or those who wished, planned, and internet surfed to either book travel or engage in wishful thinking about going to WC 2014 spent any time examining the lives of Lula or Dilma Rousseff prior to June 2014 - the Brazil hosted World Cup. Who does Gulati think he's fooling? Biden/Obama couldn't get the bid award for the IOC Summer Olympics to Chicago nor men's FIFA World Cup in the USA for 2022. So are Americans to interpret those failures as international referendums on the current VP and POTUS? Obama personally went and pitched for the Chicago games at the IOC summit in Denmark. Biden led the US delegation to Switzerland to win the 2022 WC bid during final presentations. Yet they failed - both times. At some point a Gulati needs to man up and share that these overall frivolous world events (sports and so many others) can only take place because of U.S. might in the world securing sealanes and airspace above our cities and between international airports. Try living in a world where there is no US everpresent military watchfulness -- and see how many of these meaningless international events occur. (See France's very real concerns right now about Euro 2016. There is still very real talk of having some games played in empty stadiums for security reasons.) Germany relied heavily on U.S. military know-how, intelligence and, yes, 24/7 military aircraft in the skies and at the ready to successfully pull off their hosted World Cup 2006. If the rest of the world does not know to appreciate these services that allow these world events to take place, well, one cannot help them. But that has, as stated above, very little to do with which cities/nations actually "win" these sports events when these very dubious world bodies assemble and vote.

  11. Wooden Ships replied, June 8, 2016 at 10:52 a.m.

    Simpatico Claus. Well done. Besides retired professor-coach, I'm also retired Army. You've stated what many ignore or aren't aware of.

  12. Nate Nelson, June 8, 2016 at 10:10 a.m.

    WHEN CAN WE VOTE GULATI OUT! We need a business professional, not a professor turned politician who like the Clintons have used their foundation.. Gulati has used US Soccer..The US World Cup bid failed because we were bested by other offers and Bill Clinton's "star power" did help..Look for Gulati to try a joint bid with Canada for the World Cup in the North American Pacific time zone with his new friend Victor Montagliani, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Sacramento/San Diego

  13. P R, June 8, 2016 at 10:51 a.m.

    I love how people spin things. Gulati didn't say that World Cups are chosen solely based on the leader of the country at that time, he said it would be "easier" with a more outward looking president. And say what you will about Putin, he's generally just anti-US it's allies, that's very different than Trump, where even fellow prominent Republicans are repeatedly asking him to stop with his racist, xenophobic rhetoric. Also, Russia and Qatar bought their tournaments, and I'm sure if Trump wanted to step up and use his money to pay off as many votes as those countries did, and many other countries have before them, then the US would have no problem getting a world cup while he is president.

  14. Ginger Peeler, June 8, 2016 at 12:45 p.m.

    Thanks PR for pointing out that the vote was fixed for Qatar. The US never was going to get it. I'm surprised some of our commenters aren't aware of FIFA's deep corruption. There is still an on-going investigation, folks. Look it up, and check out Sepp Blatter, while you're at it. That's just the beginning. You can spend a long time just studying those who have been implicated and how much and what some of them took in bribes. FIFA (soccer) and the IOC (Olympics) are entirely separate organizations. Folks, this is just common sense... Gulati was referring to a president who will ban Muslems from entering the country and who will build a wall between the USA and Mexico. Countries with Muslims on their national teams will not come, Mexicans will not come...some Central and South American teams will probably boycott in solidarity. So, there's really no point in spending the time and money to try to get the World Cup. If we will no longer welcome athletes from all countries with open arms, as we have in the past, we will no longer receive consideration.

  15. Wooden Ships replied, June 8, 2016 at 1:02 p.m.

    Ginger is your sky falling? Always trying to be the voice of reason is condescending. Trump wouldn't get that type of authority nor would people not come to the states for the World Cup. Commenters are aware of FIFA corruption and Gulati's comments weren't really about soccer. IMO.

  16. Nate Nelson replied, June 8, 2016 at 1:03 p.m.

    Ginger..what about corruption at the US Soccer Federation (maybe you're not from America) Ever heard of Chuck Blazer? and anyone with half a brain watching USSF's Dan Flynn on capital hill when Gulati chose to stay home..Flynn's "I wasn't aware" or "I was uncomfortable"... So US Soccer will become part of the solution to the corruption.. as they were victoms

  17. Ginger Peeler, June 8, 2016 at 2 p.m.

    WS...I lived on Air Force bases through high school, as my dad was a lifer. He was also one of the most even tempered and reasonable men I've ever been aware of. He taught me to ALWAYS look at both sides before jumping to conclusions. That's not being condescending. It's being fair. I'm retired and in my later years, so I sometimes don't become so invested in things as I used to. I am concerned by the level of hatred and disgust I hear and see in our country regarding even sports! I'm not fond of Klinsmann, but he did it again! Somehow the team pulled together as a unit as they used to and they won! I have to give him props for it. I do thank you for your service. When my dad retired after 30 years, he went back to college, got his Masters, and taught college and high school. You and he have much in common.

  18. Wooden Ships replied, June 8, 2016 at 4:20 p.m.

    Ginger, I am sorry for my tone toward you and it does sound like I followed your dads past, including graduate degree but not high school. I too am frustrated with the country's direction including sport and I think its due to incompetent leadership. I'll reveal another thing about myself, that may or may not put me in good stead with our group. Of all the candidates in the two parties, the one I was most impressed with and voted for was Carly Fiorina. Sharp as a tack and I thought she could be the reincarnate of Maggie and Golda. Hell, I voted for her after she withdrew even. Again, Ginger I do apologize.

  19. Ginger Peeler, June 8, 2016 at 2:18 p.m.

    Nate, when I said FIFA, I was including all of those groups, such as CONCACAF, that make up the membership. If you look into Sepp Blatter and keep going, you will find Chuck Blazer. It is my understanding that the investigation is still ongoing and more arrests may still be forthcoming. Evidence of the corruption and wrongdoing continues to come to light. There was something just last week, I believe, about Blatter and a couple of his honchos paying themselves bonuses for a couple World Cups.

  20. Ric Fonseca replied, June 8, 2016 at 2:32 p.m.

    Hola Ginger! IMHO, you are most certainly NOT condescending, but an objective person. As for Blazer, I first saw him in action back in the early '90s and throughout WC USA94, and often wondered just how this guy got so much power? I also sat in a meeting as an interpreter with Havelange and Blatter and some execs from a WC sponsor - gee, I oughta write a book! - and saw both H & B in action, and I also interpreted for Havelange during the closing meeting of US Soccer/post WC USA 94 in San Diego in '94. Shall we say, PLAY ON!!!

  21. Richard Brown, June 9, 2016 at 11:24 a.m.

    Our game should bring people together not pull them apart.

    We don't care what race or religion color you are some stupid fans do. Politicians care because they use it to in rich themselves and their friends.

    Problem is adults have learned to hate.

    Does anyone think kids were born haters. Adults have to teach kids to hate.

    Any adult who teaches a kid to hate in any religion. Any politician who wants to use hate to divide people to spread their own agenda should all burn in hell.

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