Miami works to put best foot forward in US's bid to host World Cup soccer
By Zachary S. Fagenson
With the US's official bid to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup now in the hands of Fédération Internationale de Football Association, soccer's international governing body, Miami must now get ready to put its best foot forward when FIFA officials visit early September.
The US is one of nine hopefuls to host the month-long tournament and Miami is one of 18 cities hoping to end up on a list 12 to 15 that will ultimately host the games.
The five-volume bid book included a 1,250-page section on Miami, which has been offered up to host one of the most important events of the tournament, and Sun Life Stadium has been proposed to host the opening or final match.
"The big thing in the bid book is Miami was presented to host the final draw," said Miami-Dade Sports Commission Executive Director Mike Sophia.
The final draw is the event that sets matchups for the international tournament.
That "in and of itself is a major sporting event and [the] entire soccer world would come to Miami," he added.
Meanwhile, Sun Life Stadium just barely made the cut to potentially host the opening or closing match. FIFA requires the stadium that hosts either match to be able to hold at least 80,000 spectators. By putting in temporary seating the stadium would be able to hold 80,240 fans.
And while Miami might not end up playing host to either game, Mr. Sophia said just that possibility could give the US a better shot a securing the games.
"Part of what we did intentionally at the start was to be a resource as much as possible," he said. "Not to say Miami would host the opening or final match, but the bid becomes strong by having those options."
Meanwhile, Miami's bid committee Wednesday was to welcome representatives from the US bid committee in town to prepare for FIFA's site visit in early September.
FIFA officials were to spend three days in Miami looking at everything from the stadium to the Miami Beach Convention Center.
The "bid committee is here to work with us in preparation for that visit," Mr. Sophia said during a Tuesday interview. "Where will they go when they get off the plane? How do they get from point A to point B?
"All of that planning starts tomorrow."