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Obama writes to FIFA in support of US World Cup bid

world Updated: Apr 15, 2009 08:52 IST

AP
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US President Barack Obama wrote a letter to FIFA president Sepp Blatter supporting the American bid to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

"As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together," Obama said, according to excerpts released by the U.S. Soccer Federation on Tuesday.

"As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters' soccer games in Chicago." FIFA's executive committee will decide the hosts for both tournaments in December 2010.

The United States hosted the World Cup for the first time in 1994, and the 52 games drew records for total attendance (3.59 million) and average (68,991). "Soccer is truly the world's sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe," Obama wrote.

"That is why this bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams."

England and the joint Spain-Portugal bid, are considered the favorites to host in 2018.