U.S. Soccer Notes from FIFA Bid

When playing “Red” in Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman was “a man who knows how to get things,” and the USA Bid Committee is hoping that statement comes true on Thursday, Dec. 2, when FIFA announces the winner of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Zurich, Switzerland. The Academy Award-winning actor arrived in Zurich this morning and was part of the four-member team that gave the USA Bid Committee’s presentation this afternoon at FIFA House, along with President Bill Clinton, U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Landon Donovan and USA Bid Committee Chairman and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Mia Hamm, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and Vice Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee David Downs were also part of the USA delegation on hand at FIFA House. 
Studio 90 is on location in Zurich and covered all the activities surrounding the USA Bid Committee’s presentation to FIFA, from the behind-the-scenes preparation with Morgan Freeman to highlights of the presentation and post-presentation reaction with Landon Donovan. The USA Bid Committee’s full 30-minute presentation is also up on ussoccer.com, providing fans with the opportunity to see their final pitch to the FIFA Executive Committee. Also on ussoccer.com, fans can check out yesterday’s interview with Landon Donovan about the USA’s bid.
To read the full speeches from all four of the USA Bid Committee presenters, visit ussoccer.com [Freeman | Gulati | Donovan | Clinton]. We also caught up with USA Bid Committee Chairman and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Landon Donovan after the presentation to the FIFA Executive Committee. Here’s what the two presenters said:
Sunil Gulati
On how the presentation went:
“We are pleased we had this final opportunity to make our case to the FIFA Executive Committee and I’m extremely appreciative of the special efforts of President Clinton, Morgan Freeman and Landon Donovan in helping us make that case. We look forward to a decision tomorrow.”
Landon Donovan
On the team’s presentation to FIFA:
"We practiced a lot and we wanted to make sure we got our message across and we all felt good about that. President Clinton said numerous times, 'I hope I did a good enough job and I hope we convinced people.' I think we're all just very passionate about this. We are all cautiously optimistic, but then again you never know."
On his feeling on the announcement:
"I'm pretty Zen about it, because at this point we've done what we can do. Maybe even with the presentation, people had their mind made up. Who knows? So you hope that maybe there are few people that are unconvinced, and you convinced them or swayed them one way, but people are going to vote the way they are going to vote and we did our best. I think our presentation was great and we'll see what happens."
On being part of such a unique event as a current player:
"I think it would be good for every player to go through something like this even if you are just watching it in person because it's pretty impressive to see everything that goes on behind the scenes. The thing I've realized more than anything is just how important this event is to everybody. For (a player), it's important to play in it, but you don't realize how important (selecting the host country) is. Everyone is so passionate about it. You look at all the bids, and you look at everyone who is talking about it -- Japan, Korea, Qatar, Australia -- and part of you is like, shoot they deserve it too, so we all deserve it, but I think our country is ready for a big moment like that."
For the second time in 2010, the FIFA World Cup promises to deliver incredible drama for soccer fans in the United States – but this time, the anticipation and excitement will happen away from the field. After almost two years of preparations, the USA Bid Committee will find out Thursday whether the 2022 World Cup will be played in the United States when FIFA announces the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
Before the decision is announced in the afternoon (4 p.m. local/10 a.m. ET), the 2018 FIFA World Cup bidding countries (Belgium/Netherlands, Spain/Portugal, England and Russia) will give their final 30-minute presentations to the FIFA Executive Committee at FIFA House. Here is the schedule for the presentations, with times listed in Zurich (local)/ET, which can be followed live on fifa.com:
Thursday, Dec. 2
9 a.m. / 3 a.m.  – Belgium/Netherlands
10 a.m. / 4 a.m. – Spain/Portugal
11 a.m. / 5 a.m. – England
12 p.m. / 6 a.m. – Russia
Following the presentations, each of the FIFA Executive Committee members will vote for their selected host nation for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. The voting process could take several rounds before winners are decided as a majority of 12 votes are required to secure the bid. (For more details on the voting process, see below.) After the secret ballots are tallied, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter will announce the winners. Here’s all you need to know about the announcement for both World Cups:
The delegations for all nine bidding countries will be on hand for the announcement for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.
The announcements will be conducted at the exhibition center of Messe Zurich.
The announcement is expected at approximately 4 p.m. local (10 a.m. ET). FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter will open the envelopes to reveal the names of the winners before the live audience in the exhibition center and across the world.
How to Follow: The event will be carried live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Fox Soccer Channel, FOX Deportes, CNN International and Univision, as well as on fifa.com.
The FIFA Executive Committee, chaired by President Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, approved the voting process to determine the hosts of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and 2022 FIFA World Cup during its meeting held in Zurich on Oct. 28 and 29. The voting will take place at Messe Zurich on Thursday, Dec. 2, and the process will be as follows:
•    The 2018 vote will take place first, followed by the vote for 2022. The vote will be by secret ballot and all eligible members of the FIFA Executive Committee can vote in both ballots
•    To win the right to host the competition, a bidder must obtain an absolute majority (50% + 1) of the votes of the FIFA Executive Committee members present
•    In the event of a tie when only two bidders remain, the FIFA President will have the casting vote
•    For any voting round in which an absolute majority is not achieved, the bidder with the lowest number of votes will not progress to the next voting round
•    If there is a tie for the lowest number of votes in any round, an intermediate voting round will be conducted to determine which of the tied bidders does not progress
•    When the final decision on the host has been taken, the result will be put in two envelopes and handed over to the FIFA President for the announcements

One of the biggest announcements in the history of sports is drawing a host of VIPs and renowned personalities from the worlds of sport and politics to Zurich. The world’s media is also turning out in force, with more than 1,000 journalists accredited to cover the event, and nearly 70 TV stations broadcasting the announcement live.
U.S. President Bill Clinton, the honorary chairman of the USA Bid Committee, wrote a column last week touching on why the United States would be a deserving and welcoming host of the FIFA World Cup in 2022. You can read the column here.
Looking for more information and pictures from behind the scenes as the USA Bid Committee awaits the FIFA announcement on Dec. 2? Make sure to check out the MNT Blog on ussoccer.com to get the latest from Zurich.
Official U.S. Soccer Bars across the country are opening Thursday morning so fans can watch FIFA’s 2018 and 2022 Bid Announcement. Contact your local Official Bar to see what time their doors open so you can be part of the excitement.  A list of Official U.S. Soccer Bar locations can be found here.
With U.S. Soccer staff on site, our nimble-thumbed staff will be keeping you updated on any pertinent news or facts - in short form of course.
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