Baltimore a favorite to be host of 1994 FIFA congress

February 28, 1991|By Gary Davidson | Gary Davidson,Special to The Sun

WASHINGTON -- Baltimore has emerged as a leading candidate to play host to the Federation Internationale de Football Association World Congress, which will be held in conjunction with the quadrennial World Cup soccer tournament to be played in the United States in 1994.

Yesterday, the World Cup Washington, D.C., Region 1994 Venue Bid Committee officially submitted its application to bring as many as seven World Cup games here.

The bid, which must be forwarded for final approval by FIFA, was accompanied by a refundable $157,549 deposit. It contained a proposal to bring the World Cup opening game to Washington. If this request is granted, Baltimore would get the FIFA congress, which will be attended by approximately 500 representatives of the 165 member nations.

Washington is considered a leading candidate for the opening ceremonies in June 1994 because of its status as the nation's capital and its large international community.

The Congress is expected to be held during the two days preceding the opening game, but official functions usually begin a week earlier than that. The economic impact of such an event is expected to be signficant.

Selection of a maximum of 12 venues for the World Cup games could be made as early as December. Thirty-two cities, including Washington, are competing for the games.

The venue committee's bid requested three preliminary-round games and one game each in the round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals. If defending World Cup-champion West Germany, which automatically plays in the first game, does not compete in a group that plays its preliminary matches in Washington, the District conceivably could get four opening-round games.

The venue committee is working on an additional bid for the World Cup title match.

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