NEW YORK (August 10, 2009) – Philip Anschutz, a founding investor of Major League Soccer (MLS), today accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its endeavor to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
Inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006, Anschutz will play an influential role as a member of the Board of Directors as the USA Bid Committee prepares its application and campaign to bring the world’s largest sporting event to the United States.
Recognized as one of the founding fathers of MLS, Anschutz received one of American soccer’s greatest honors in 2006 when he received the National Soccer Medal of Honor. Anschutz was just the fourth recipient of the award that recognizes contributions to soccer that have changed the course of the sport. Through his company AEG, Anschutz became an investor/operator of MLS with the Colorado Rapids in its inaugural season of 1996. AEG is the current owner of the Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy and at various times during the 13-year history of MLS has held ownership in the Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes, New York/New Jersey MetroStars and D.C. United.
“Phil Anschutz and AEG have played a key role in the development of soccer in this country over the last 15 years,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “Phil and his associates have been instrumental in the continued growth of MLS, in particular, and we’re pleased to have his experience and leadership as a part of our bid committee.”
Owners and operators of sports and entertainment venues around the world, AEG developed and operates The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The stadium is recognized as the gold-standard of soccer-specific stadia in the United States and hosted the 2003 Women’s World Cup Final in its inaugural season. The stadium is home to MLS’ Galaxy and Chivas USA, the Los Angeles Sol of Women’s Professional Soccer and is the national team training headquarters for the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF).
The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.
All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010. FIFA’s 24‑member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.
Anschutz joins the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee that recently welcomed Univision CEO Joe Uva, New England Revolution and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon, University of Miami President Donna Shalala, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, U.S. National Team icons Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. In the months ahead, the USA Bid Committee will add additional national leaders from the sectors of sports, entertainment, government and business.
The USA Bid Committee’s efforts has earned the full support of President Barack Obama, who back in April reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the efforts to bring the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In that letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.
On Monday, July 27, Obama and Blatter met at the White House to discuss the U.S. bid and other soccer-related topics. The meeting was marked by Blatter confirming his invitation for President Obama to be his guest at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. President Obama has expressed his interest in attending the event pending availability on his schedule.
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