I considered posting this under our Match Fit Reserve label, but decided that it was more tragedy than comedy in the end.
The FIFA people landed in the US yesterday, and after a look around New York and its environs, will head to DC to visit FedEx Field and George Mason University (I hope they've allowed enough time to deal with traffic). From there it's on to Miami, where the team will scout the proposed venue in South Florida (Joe Robbie? Pro Player? LandShark? What the hell are they calling that thing these days?).
I wonder how knowledgeable the FIFA team is of the American pro soccer scene, and I specifically wonder because of DC and Miami. If the group is unaware of what is going on in those two particular cities, it could make for some seriously awkward conversations.
While walking into FedEx Field...
FIFA Inspector: So this is where your local club plays?
GOUSABID person: Uh...no. DC United plays at RFK Stadium.
FIFA Inspector: So why is this RFK Stadium not the venue included in your bid?
GOUSABID person: Well, let's just say it doesn't meet FIFA standards.
FIFA Inspector: I understand. The American league is young, so your stadiums are small. How many does it hold?
GOUSABID person: 45,000
FIFA Inspector: That is not so small. The DC club has room to grow.
GOUSABID person: Actually, we don't expect them to play there much longer. The city charges unreasonable rent and the owners can no longer afford it.
FIFA Inspector: Oh? Will they be moving to this place? The home of your "Redskins"?
GOUSABID person: No. They are hoping to build a stadium somewhere in the area, but have yet to find a suitable location.
FIFA Inspector: Then what will they do should they be unable to build a new ground?
GOUSABID person: Nobody knows yet, but they might leave the DC for another city..
FIFA Inspector: I see. This is...interesting news.
GOUSABID person: Yeah, but DC is a great place for the World Cup to be, trust me!
Okay, so maybe it's not that bad. Perhaps the whoever is escorting the FIFA delegation will simply avoid all mentions of United's stadium issues. "Don't ask, don't tell" so to speak...
The delegation heads for Miami...
FIFA Inspector: Miami is a beautiful city. I very much look forward to seeing the stadium you have proposed. Will the local MLS club be there?
GOUSABID person: Eh, well, there isn't an MLS club in Miami
FIFA Inspector: What? But it is a major city with many people who must love the game!
GOUSABID person: Yes, that is true, but the league has just found it difficult to sustain a team in the city.
FIFA Inspector: What do you mean? Miami had a team before but does not now?
GOUSABID person: That's correct. The Miami Fusion folded in 2001.
FIFA Inspector: This is shocking! Are you saying this city cannot support a top-flight football club? Why would you include a city in your bid that does not only does not have a team in your best domestic league but also had one dissolved less than ten years ago?
GOUSABID person: Are you kidding? It's Miami! South Beach baby!
I'm just having a little fun on a Tuesday that feels like Monday. I'm sure nothing like either of those conversations will happen. With the whirlwind schedule the bid committee has for the FIFA people, I doubt there will be time to delve into the unique circumstances of soccer in the US/DC/Miami...
No worries. The inspection means a whole heap of nothing to the actual voting process anyway.