U.S. trims 27 stadiums from World Cup list
NEW YORK -- Twenty-seven stadiums have been dropped from consideration for the U.S. bid to host soccer's World Cup in 2018 and 2022, while Las Vegas and Salt Lake City have been added.
Nearly all the stadiums that were dropped are college football venues. Also eliminated were Green Bay's Lambeau Field and Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the Buffalo Bills.
Forty-five stadiums in 37 areas currently are in contention, ranging from New York to college towns such as Fayetteville, Ark., and Knoxville, Tenn.
Salt Lake City and planners of Las Vegas' Sports City USA venue approached the bid committee to be added after the initial list of 70 stadiums was released in April, U.S. Soccer Federation spokesman Neil Buethe said Tuesday.
Other planned venues, such as a stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., could be added if they are built, Buethe said.
The committee is looking for information on an array of subjects ranging from tourism to climate to security.
The U.S. must submit its application to FIFA next May, and FIFA's executive committee plans to select the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December 2010.
Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands-Belgium, Russia, Spain-Portugal have filed to hosting both World Cups, and Qatar and South Korea bid for 2022 only.
England and Spain are seen as the leading contenders to host in 2018, while the United States is viewed as a top candidate for 2022.
When the U.S. hosted in 1994, nine venues were used: Chicago; Dallas; East Rutherford, N.J.; Foxborough, Mass; Orlando, Fla.; Pasadena, Calif.; Pontiac, Mich.; Stanford, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.
Since then, the World Cup has expanded from 24 to 32 teams and FIFA asks bidders to submit 12-18 stadiums with capacities of 40,000 or more. Only venues of 80,000 or more can host the opener and the final.
Next year's World Cup will be in South Africa, and the 2014 host is Brazil.