Obama’s World Cup Play

No, not the rescue of Richard Phillips from Somali pirates, but his bid for the 2022 World Cup (the New York Times says “2018 or 2022,” but the 2018 cup can’t be held in the Americas, since the 2014 cup is being held in Brazil and no two successive cups are, by god’s–that is, the soccer federations’–law, to be held in the same hemisphere). Should the United States win the bid, 28 years will have elapsed since it hosted the World Cup in 1994 (when Brazil won in that ridiculous penalty shoot-out against Italy). Here’s what The Times got right: <p>

“As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together,” the president wrote in a letter that was hand-delivered recently to Joseph S. Blatter, the president of the world soccer body, known as FIFA. Obama was referring to the years from ages 6 to 10 that he spent in Indonesia with his mother. “As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago,” the president added. Obama seems to understand the implications of the world’s favorite sport, in the same way he gave early interviews to Arabic newspapers, stopped off in Turkey on his first European trip and held the first Seder in the history of the White House.“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe,” Obama added in the letter, a part of which was released to The New York Times by the United States Soccer Federation with permission from the White House.

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