FIFA inspectors on whirlwind US tour

NEW YORK, Sept 7, 2010 (AFP) - FIFA World Cup inspectors visited New York on Tuesday as part of a three-day, five-city US tour that includes breakfast at the White House.

The six-man delegation is touring potential stadiums and facilities as part of the process in determining if America is a suitable host for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022.

The highlight of the tour for the group, which is led by Chile Football Federation president Harold Mayne-Nicholls, will be breakfast at the White House Wednesday morning in Washington, DC.

Former US President Bill Clinton attended World Cup matches in South Africa and is chairman of the US bid. It is unclear whether President Barack Obama would attend the breakfast.

"We're not sure of all the guests, but there certainly will be a couple of cabinet members and a couple senior members of the president's staff," US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said.

The delegation will also make stops in Miami, Dallas and Houston. The United States is one of eight of nine stops on the FIFA world tour. FIFA's executive committee votes on both event hosts December 2.

Europe is expected to be awarded the 2018 tournament, with England, Russia, Spain-Portugal and Belgium-Netherlands competing. For the 2022 tournament, the US is up against Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea.

Mayne-Nicholls group does not make the final decision but they are expected to submit an evaluation to the 24-man FIFA executive committee after they finish their global tour.

"We are here to get as much information as possible," said Mayne-Nicholls.

Washington and New York are among 18 cities in the US bid. The number would be cut to a dozen cities if the United States is successful.

The newly built Meadowlands Stadium and the mammoth Cowboys Stadium have been listed as possible sites for the opening.

Other news