Knives out for Amer­i­can prez

The Citizen (KZN) - - INTERNATIONAL - New York

– Calls to oust US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati (above) abounded this week as the hu­mil­i­a­tion sunk in of the Amer­i­cans fail­ing to qual­ify for the 2018 Rus­sia World Cup.

A 2-1 loss on Tues­day at Trinidad and Tobago com­bined with wins by Hon­duras and Panama elim­i­nated the US squad, which had not misssed a World Cup since 1986.

In­dian-born Amer­i­can Gu­lati, 58, has been the US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent since 2006 but new elec­tions are in Fe­bru­ary and a call for new lead­er­ship has been swift and loud.

Gu­lati told The New York Times that his re-elec­tion can­di­dacy “is not a de­ci­sion for me to think about tonight”, and added, “We will look at ev­ery­thing, ob­vi­ously, all of our pro­grammes, both the na­tional team and all the devel­op­ment stuff. But we’ve got some pieces in place that we think are very good and are coming along.”

Sports Il­lus­trated’s Grant Wahl said Gu­lati must go and re­struc­tur­ing of US Soc­cer is needed.

“The push for an over­haul of the US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion will be stronger than ever from fans, from me­dia and from Amer­i­can soc­cer stake­hold­ers who’ve in­vested mil­lions of dol­lars in the growth of the sport, in­clud­ing USSF spon­sors like Nike, Coca-Cola and Bud­weiser, MLS own­ers and tele­vi­sion rights-hold­ers like Fox Sports, ESPN and Univi­sion,” Wahl wrote.

“A mas­sive re­boot needs to hap­pen in a fed­er­a­tion that has too of­ten been opaque, in­su­lar and woe­fully re­sis­tant to change over the years, and it has to start at the top with the re­place­ment of US Soc­cer pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati. It’s time.”

Filip Bondy, writ­ing on the Forbes magazine web­site, agreed. “This surely marks the end of the Su­nil Gu­lati era,” he said.

“Fairly or not, Gu­lati’s legacy has been badly tar­nished. He can’t hope to win re-elec­tion as pres­i­dent in Fe­bru­ary now that the Amer­i­cans have failed at their sin­gle most im­por­tant task.”

Rocco Com­misso, the New York Cos­mos chair­man with an anti-trust law­suit against US Soc­cer, joined the cho­rus as well.

“The blame must be placed squarely at the feet of US Soc­cer’s man­age­ment, led by Su­nil Gu­lati,” Com­misso said. – AFP

The push for an over­haul of the USSF will be stronger than ever. Grant Wahl Sports Il­lus­trated

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.