By RYAN TOLMICH
With the unsuccessful bid for the 2022 tournament in the past, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has once again kindled hopes of a U.S.-based World Cup.
Fresh off the news of Blatter’s intent to pursue a fifth term, the FIFA president agreed that the 2026 World Cup should take place on North American soil, with the United States as the top candidate.
“Perhaps there’s a big commercial opportunity arising now in the United States because of the tremendous television audiences that are booming,” Blatter said in an interview with SoccerEx, “and that the World Cup has also encouraged in its domestic game as well. We did well with football when it first went to the United States but the opportunities are bigger now.”
While Blatter is touting the USA as a future World Cup host, U.S. Soccer president and FIFA Executive Committee member Sunil Gulati has repeatedly stated that the U.S. won’t bid on another World Cup until the processes change. The U.S. pulled out all the stops to win either the 2018 or 2022 World Cups, and failed to do so, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of the American bid organizers.
Here are some more of Monday evening’s news and notes from around the soccer world:
ROMA PRESIDENT BLASTS “POISON” BENATIA OVER COMMENTS REGARDING SALE
The split between AS Roma and defender Mehdi Benatia has taken a turn for the worse.
Despite claims from Benatia that stated the defender was hoping for a Roma stay, club president James Pallotta insists Benatia has put forth a “pattern of outright fabrications” since his move to Bayern Munich.
“He personally said to me that he was happy after I told him flat out with no exceptions that we wanted him to stay,” Palotta said via the club’s website. “Over the following month he lied about wanting to stay and about the details of his compensation to both Rudi Garcia and his teammates. Lying to me was one thing which I can somewhat handle. Lying to Rudi Garcia and his teammates was completely unacceptable to me.”
Palotta’s statement comes on the heels of Benatia’s claims that he was sold due to Roma’s poor finances, which the Roma president vehemently denies.
“I told Walter Sabatini he was becoming a poison and I wanted him gone, and Rudi and Walter agreed,” Palotta said. “It wasn’t about the money; it was about having character in our locker room. We are in a very sound financial position.”
As owners of Roma, we make difficult decisions all the time. As a fan of Roma, I am deeply disappointed that one of our players could act this way. ”
REUS TO MISS FOUR WEEKS DUE TO ANKLE INJURY
After missing out on this summer’s World Cup triumph, Marco Reus is yet to fully put his injury woes behind him.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder is set to miss another four weeks after reinjuring the same left ankle that kept him out of this summer’s World Cup. Reus’ injury came late in Germany’s 2-1 victory over Scotland, as the 25-year-old was carted off in stoppage time.
“Team doctor Markus Braun on Monday diagnosed a partial tear and stretching of ligaments,” Borussia Dortmund said via the club’s website. “The club expects the player to undergo a rehabilitation program of four weeks.”
Reus’ injury will see the 25-year-old miss out in the German side’s opening Champions League contest against Arsenal, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 16.
SERIE A SALARIES FALL LEAGUE-WIDE
With the departures of names such as Mario Balotelli and Mehdi Benatia, Serie A has lost some of it’s top players over the summer transfer window. However, the league has seen a decrease in more than just star power, as salaries are down across the Italian league.
Serie A’s total yearly salaries have fallen yet again, according to reports, with just champions Juventus increasing its wage bill to roughly $152 million heading into the 2014 season.
In contrast to Juve’s spending, both Inter Milan and AC Milan have seen spending drop $32 million and $14 million, respectively.
As for players, Roma’s Daniele De Rossi is set to be the league’s highest earner, with his $8.4 million salary topping Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain’s yearly haul by $1.3 million.
What do you make of Blatter’s comments? How do you feel about how Benatia and Roma have handled their split? How will BVB fare without Reus? What do the salary numbers say about the state of Serie A?
Share your thoughts below.