‘US needs a reboot’
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
UNDER FIRE: US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati.