An interesting sidenote of the current World Cup soccer championship in South Africa is the presence of bold-faced names with American interests.
FIFA president–and former PR man–Joseph Blatter knows sizzle when he sees it, and how it could his cause in elevating soccer (and its sponsors) even higher by coming ashore, again, to the United States.
Former president Bill Clinton was in the stands at key games, and has been made the honorary chairman of the U.S. Bid Committee while Blatter and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati unofficially assembled some big names to talk up the prospects of World Cup 2018. According to the L.A. Times:
Gulati has assembled an intriguing group of people to be on this committee, from Mia Hamm to Henry Kissinger, plus Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Brad Pitt, Drew Carey, Spike Lee and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Gulati, now in his second term at the helm of U.S. Soccer, is upbeat about American chances to land another World Cup, but a lot can happen in the five months before FIFA’s executive committee takes its votes and announces its decisions on Dec. 2 in Zurich, Switzerland.
Both World Cups will be awarded on that date.
“I am feeling good about things but not taking anything for granted,” Gulati said this week, adding that Clinton’s trip to South Africa had been a massive boost for the bid.
Joseph “Sepp” Blatter understands publicity–and controversy. Prior to getting into sports management, he was Head of Public Relations of the Valaisan Tourist Board in his native Switzerland and headed up an organization with the mission of preventing women switching from garters to pantyhose in the early 70s. More recently, he went on record to say what women’s soccer needs to attract fans are “tighter shorts and low cut shirts.”