USA ’94 VENUE SELECTION: When the World Cup came to the land of the Giants


Michael Lewis, editor of FrontRowSoccer.com, attended the announcement of the venue for the 1994 World Cup in New York for Football Week on March 23, 1992. Here is his story in the March 26, 1992 edition of the publication.

By Michael Lewis

Football Week Editor

For football fans who worried about having to travel hundreds of miles to catch a single 1994 World Cup game, worry no more. The World Cup is coming to Giants Stadium.

This fact was confirmed during a press conference on March 23 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, where the stadium was one of nine sites designated by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), the governing body of football and the USA 1994 World Cup Organizing Committee.

Giants Stadium joins Orlando (Citrus Bowl) and Washington, DC (RFK Stadium) in the East Interim Group; Boston (Foxboro Stadium), Detroit (Pontiac Silverdome) and Chicago (Soldier Field) are in the North group; and Pasadena (Rose Bowl), San Francisco (Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto) and Dallas (Cotton Bowl) in the Western Group, all sites selected for the 52-game tournament scheduled for June 17-July 17, 1994 at football stadiums .

The tournament is divided into six groups of four teams each. Two groups will be assigned to each group of three cities.

Giant Stadium’s chances were given a boost when FIFA recently announced that they would be relaxing their pitch width restrictions. The Giant Stadium is about seven meters too narrow. To meet FIFA requirements of 75 yards. Grass should always be placed on its artificial surface.

Due to its proximity to the city and its rank as the third-largest stadium (76,891), Giants Stadium is also a strong candidate to host the opener, second round, quarter-finals and tournament matches. championship.

Each stadium will host at least four first round matches, although the schedule will not be announced until July in Zurich, Switzerland.

A site in the New York area has always been a priority for FIFA.

“For FIFA, it was a must to play in New York,” said FIFA Secretary General Sepp Blatter. “We couldn’t bring the World Cup to the United States and not play in New York.”

That left the Yale Bowl in New Haven, 79 miles northeast of the city, in the cold despite a well-organized bid. “They were sensational,” said Alan Rothenberg, president and CEO of the 1994 USA World Cup. “We could only choose nine venues. We felt with Giants Stadium and Boston, the Northeast region was skillfully covered.

In an unconventional move that contrasted with its slow-moving policy, FIFA selected an indoor stadium for the first time, the Pontiac Silverdome. “It’s an innovation that shows FIFA, supposedly conservative, has an open mind,” Blatter said.

If successful, turf-covered stadiums could be the wave of the future, Rothenberg said. “I can’t read FIFA’s minds, but if it works it could be a solution where the weather isn’t great in northern Europe,” Rothenberg said.

In perhaps the closest call, Orlando trumped Tampa and Miami as Florida’s venue. Miami, which has Robbie Stadium and the Orange Bowl, lost out when an expansion baseball team, the Florida Marlins, was added to Robbie starting in 1993.

Also not named hosts were Atlanta, site of the 1996 Olympics, Columbus, Denver, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Rothenberg said three towns would be selected as backup sites in case one site could not meet the requirements.

The organizing committee also expects to complete negotiations on national World Cup television within the next 90 days.

Tickets are expected to go on sale in July. A special address for ticket inquiries has been established to provide fans with USA World Cup 1994 information PO Box 1994 Los Angeles, CA 90051-1994.

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