‘US needs a re­boot’

The New Age (KwaZulu-Natal) - - Sport -

CALLS to oust US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati con­tinue as the hu­mil­i­a­tion sinks deeper in of the Amer­i­cans’ fail­ure to qual­ify for the 2018 Rus­sia World Cup.

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

In­dia-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 from fans and me­dia com­men­ta­tors.

“Dra­matic changes must be made at many lev­els, but it all starts at the top,” a state­ment on the Amer­i­can Out­laws web­site said.

“In no un­cer­tain terms, the pres­i­dent of the US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion, Gu­lati, must go. De­spite past suc­cesses he has presided over an un­mit­i­gated disas­ter and the fed­er­a­tion needs fresh lead­er­ship and ideas from top to bot­tom.”

Gu­lati told The New York Times after the US match that his re-elec­tion can­di­dacy “is not a de­ci­sion for me to think about tonight”.

“We will look at ev­ery­thing, ob­vi­ously, at 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 good and are com­ing along,” he said.

Sports Il­lus­trated’s Grant Wahl, in a post on the magazine’s web­site, 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 have in­vested mil­lions of dol­lars in the growth of the sport – in­clud­ing USSF spon­sors such as Nike, Co­caCola and Bud­weiser, MLS own­ers and TV 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 Gu­lati. It’s time.”

Filip Bondy, writ­ing on the Forbes magazine web­site, agreed: “This surely marks the end of the Gu­lati era for US Soc­cer.

“Fairly or not, Gu­lati’s legacy has been badly tar­nished. He can’t hope to win re­elec­tion 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 Gu­lati,” Com­misso said. – AFP

PIC­TURE: AFP

UN­DER FIRE: US Soc­cer Fed­er­a­tion pres­i­dent Su­nil Gu­lati.

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