Michael Lewis wrote this story for BigAppleSoccer.com on Sept. 7, 2010 about the U.S. bid books for the 2022 World Cup.
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK — First of all, I have to admit that I am biased when it comes to the USA bid for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
I want to the U.S. to host one of those World Cup. My gut feeling says it will be 2022 if FIFA so chooses.
The USA Bid Committee certainly put its best foot forward with these books.
There is little doubt that the USA World Cup bid books are encompassing and then some. Very little was left unturned on this 1,250-page, 16-lb. package that was delivered to FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland in May.
There is style and there is substance when it comes to the bid books.
The five volumes have everything. It is easy on the eyes and answers questions about everything — in detail.
You want to know where the team workshops will be prior to the World Cup? It will be held at the Manchester Grant Hyatt in San Diego.
You want to know to the team hotel for teams using Red Bull Arena? Easy. On Page 59 in Volume 1, the Omni Berkshire Place Hotel in Manhattan, a five-star hotel with 396 rooms that was 11.4 kilometers away was listed.
You want to know what hospitals there were in case of a medical emergency? The books identified 12 hospitals in the New York City area for FIFA officials.
Now, I can’t tell you what the other 10 candidates had in their books, but I know that Sunil Gulati, David Downs and their World Cup committee left little or nothing to be answered in the books.
Knowing Gulati, a professor at Columbia University, he has learned from history.
When the U.S. tried for the 1986 World Cup, it submitted a rather shoddy bid in 1983 that had more holes than the 2009 Red Bulls defense and no government guarantees.
When the U.S. vied for the 1994 World Cup, the U.S. Soccer Federation made sure all the i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed. Government guarantees also were submitted in those books. Officials then called it two phone books
This year’s bid books put those to shame and that’s not to dump on those impressive volumes.
But that was then and this is now.
Of course, the big test is this week, when the FIFA inspection delegation tours several facilities, including the New Meadowlands Stadium and Red Bull Arena and Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Washington, D.C., Miami and Dallas on Wednesday and Dallas and Houston on Thursday.
I had the privilege, along with several other media representatives, to peruse the bid books by the USA bid committee at the MLS offices in New York City earlier this year. The rules were simple: we were allow to stay as long as we wanted, but we could not take photos of the book or copy any of the pages.
So, it should not be surprising that I stayed at the offices for several hours, taking notes, quite possibly the neatest notes I had taken. By the time I was finished I had 25-plus pages of copious notes on the books.
If I had my way, I would have taken them home with me that day, but that wasn’t in the cards.