US pulls bid to host 2018 WCup to focus on 2022

The United States pulled out Friday of the bidding race for the

2018 World Cup, switching its focus to winning the hosting rights

for 2022.

The decision, which had been expected, came after ”months of

careful deliberation” between FIFA, UEFA and the U.S. bid team,

said FIFA, soccer’s world governing body.

U.S. bid chairman Sunil Gulati said in a statement that the move

is in its ”best interests.”

Australia, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are also bidding to

stage the 2022 event.

The 2018 World Cup will now be played in Europe, either in

England, Russia or the joint bids of Netherlands-Belgium and

Spain-Portugal.

With FIFA rules stipulating that successive World Cups cannot be

played on the same continent, England responded to the U.S.

decision by withdrawing its 2022 bid.

Europe has long been expected to host in 2018 because the 2010

tournament was in South Africa and the 2014 finals are in

Brazil.

FIFA will choose both hosts on Dec. 2.