NEW YORK – U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati will not seek a fourth term, announcing his decision two months after the Americans failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
The 58-year-old Indian American executive, who announced his decision Dec. 4, has been a driving force in the USSF for more than 30 years. He helped put together the successful bid that brought the 1994 World Cup to the U.S. and served as executive vice president and chief international officer of the U.S. organizers for the tournament. He also was deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer from its launch until 1999; and president of Kraft Soccer Properties, which operates the New England Revolution of MLS
Gulati was a unanimous pick in March 2006 to succeed Bob Contiguglia, who served two terms. Gulati replaced Chuck Blazer on FIFA’s executive committee in 2013 and continues to serve on the renamed FIFA Council. He also is chairman of the joint U.S.-Mexico-Canada bid committee hoping FIFA will pick North America to host the 2026 World Cup.
Speaking in Toronto Dec. 9, Gulati said a 2026 World Cup hosted by Canada, Mexico and the U.S. would financially be "by far the most successful" in tournament history.
Speaking alongside his fellow federation presidents and bid committee executive director John Kristick in advance of the MLS Cup in Toronto, Gulati said the continent's existing stadium infrastructure and sponsorship potential could break revenue records.
"We believe that between the size of the stadiums, which obviously impacts attendance, the level of hospitality available at stadiums, which affects revenue, and the commercial opportunities that are available to FIFA, this will be by far the most successful financial World Cup," Gulati said. "And it's probably a pretty good time for that to happen for FIFA."
The federation representing North and Central America and the Caribbean has not hosted the World Cup since it was played at nine U.S. venues in 1994. The region is the leading contender for 2026, when soccer's premier event expands from 32 nations to 48.