NEW YORK – (Friday, October 15, 2010) – The USA Bid Committee announced today that it has withdrawn from the 2018 FIFA World Cup bid and will exclusively focus on the 2022 campaign.

The decision comes after several months of careful deliberation with FIFA, UEFA and members of the USA Bid Board of Directors. Four European candidates now remain in the race for 2018 (Belgium/Netherlands, England, Russia and Spain/Portugal). Since the FIFA Statutes indicate that the competition cannot be held on the same continent on two successive occasions, the 2022 campaign will now be between Australia, Japan, Korea Republic, Qatar and the United States.

“For some time we have been in conversations with FIFA and UEFA about the possibility of focusing only on the 2022 bidding process, an option we have made reference to many times,” said Sunil Gulati, Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “We are confident this is in the best interests of the USA Bid.”

“We have had an open and constructive dialogue with the USA Bid for some time now, after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Europe,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. “The announcement today by the USA Bid to focus solely on the 2022 FIFA World Cup is therefore a welcome gesture which is much appreciated by FIFA.”

Ukrop Park, home of the Richmond Kickers, has been identified as a potential team base camp to be included in the United States bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. The sports complex has been chosen as a possible training camp to host one of the 32 competing soccer nations, if the USA is awarded the honor to host the 2022 event. Team Base Camps will provide the visiting teams with a ‘home away from home’ and outstanding fitness and training facilities to help them in their final preparations for the biggest sporting event in the world.

“The opportunity for the Richmond community to be a part of a World Cup experience would be amazing,” comments Leigh Cowlishaw, Richmond Kickers Director of Soccer.  “The World Cup brings with it an energy, passion and atmosphere that no other sporting event can rival.  The possibility to have some of the best soccer players in the world based inRichmond and training at UkropPark would be a wonderful achievement for the region.”

If the USA is successful in its bid, the world’s most elite athletes may be able to benefit from UkropPark’s state-of-the-art facilities including six lighted athletic fields, including two environmentally friendly Sportexe synthetic turf fields and a full-scale aquatics center.

“We are thrilled that the committee has identified the Richmond region and UkropPark as a potential training base camp for their bid,” adds Rob Ukrop, President of the Richmond Kickers Board of Directors. The future development of UkropPark, in partnership with ChesterfieldCounty, will provide an ideal venue for a top national team in the world. We are elated at the possibility of hosting Brazil, Germany, Mexico, or another World Cup qualifier at our state-of-the-art facility.”

The FIFA Executive Committee will gather in Zurich on October 28 and 29 to discuss a number of items, including the final voting process for the selection of the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.  FIFA is slated to make the decision and announce the host nations for both the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups on December 2, 2010.

About UkropPark

The 34.5-acre sports complex UkropPark serves as the home of the Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club.  The environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art complex features six lighted athletic fields and a full-scale aquatics center.  Ukrop Park is conveniently located in Chesterfield County at the intersection of Chippenham Parkway and Route 10 and utilizes the latest technology in Musco lighting and Sportexe synthetic turf.

About Richmond Kickers Soccer Club

Today over 6,000 soccer players participate in programs sponsored by the Richmond Kickers and partner clubs, including Midlothian Youth Soccer League, Ashland Youth Soccer League, City of Richmond Parks and Rec., Goochland United Soccer Association and little KICKS. The Richmond Kickers Soccer Club provides opportunities for all players of all abilities and unites soccer in the Central Virginia community.  Benefits include economy of scale, consistency of coaching philosophy, professional administrative and coaching staff expertise, positive role models for youth players and a clear pathway from youth to pro for aspiring young players.

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