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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Good news, soccer fans

Barack Obama's election could derail England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup, according to a "high-placed" Fifa official. The unnamed source told Yahoo Sports that Obama's popularity will be "a huge factor" in deciding whether the USA is selected to host either the 2018 or 2022 tournaments.

"How can it not make a difference," said the source. "Now when you think of America, you don't think George W Bush or war, you think of this man, Obama, who has made history and given hope to millions. The men who vote on World Cup hosts are not immune to those same feelings. If the US bid stacks up in terms of infrastructure and organization, then Obama could be a huge factor."

. . .

Fifa president Sepp Blatter is expected to visit Obama at the White House next year. Earlier this year Obama revealed that he had been a West Ham fan since he visited England in 2003. He can often be seen pitch-side at his daughter's soccer games in Chicago.

His election is also believed to be likely to have a galvanizing effect on Chicago's bid to host the 2016 Olympics, meaning that, as in the 1990s, the USA could host the two biggest sports tournaments on the planet in the space of two years.

West Ham? Seriously?

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