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By ESPN Staff

U.S. World Cup bid committee contacts potential sites

NEW YORK -- The U.S. bid committee hoping to stage the World Cup in 2018 or 2022 sent initial letters last week to public officials and stadium operators of 70 potential sites in 50 markets for soccer's showcase tournament.

Six of the stadiums used for the 1994 tournament were contacted, including Soldier Field in Chicago; the Cotton Bowl in Dallas; the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando; the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; Stanford Stadium in California; and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

Also on the list were new stadiums that will open this year in Arlington, Texas, and next year in East Rutherford, N.J.; and stadiums that have opened since the 1994 World Cup in Foxborough, Mass.; Landover, Md.

Sixty-five stadiums have a capacity above 60,000, including 20 above 80,000. Among the stadiums listed were Lambeau Field, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, University of Michigan Stadium and the Yale Bowl.

"We will soon begin discussions with officials from throughout the U.S. in the name of presenting a world-class proposal to FIFA and the global soccer community," U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said in a statement.

FIFA calls for each bidder to propose at least 12 stadiums of 40,000 or more, including an 80,000-capacity venue for the opening game and the final. U.S. bidders asked to hear back from the candidates by April 17.

Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia also are bidding, with Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain submitting joint bids. Qatar and South Korea have applied for 2022 only.

Final paperwork is due to FIFA by May 2010, and FIFA's executive committee is to vote in December 2010. England and Spain are considered co-favorites for 2018, with the U.S. expected to have a better chance for 2022.

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