I have been relentlessly fighting to bring out the best in our sport, to rid our sport of corruption and bring much more transparency and integrity to the game. For anyone to say that my questioning the World Cup Bid Committee and the USSF is un-American is preposterous. I did an interview in the U.K. last week and was asked who I believe should have the honor to host a World Cup.
I never said I supported Morocco nor did I implore voting members not to vote for the U.S. What I did convey was my belief that any country awarded a World Cup should be forced to come into compliance with FIFA’s operational rules, and ethics regulations. USSF is not in compliance with a number of things, and yet, it will most likely receive the World Cup.
Among other things, USSF:
(1) operates in violation of its state and federal laws that govern non-profit national governing bodies of sport
(2) lacks financial transparency
(3) neglects its duties and not-for-profit corporate responsibilities to promote grassroots
soccer to instead focus on “for-profit” professional soccer endeavors
(4) treats its members, its World Cup Champions and its broad-based, grassroots soccer
constituencies like second-class citizens, and
(5) embraces mind-boggling, ethics-challenging financial and governance conflicts of
To not challenge these is un-American. How are we ok with the Federation’s massive conflicts of interest with Soccer United Marketing, the fact that USSF does not abide by federal law in the equal pay act, is not in compliance with the TED Stevens Amateur Athlete Act, has a $15 million dollar discrepancy in financial reporting around the Copa America, or that the USSF does not force MLS to abide by FIFA’s own rules of promotion/relegation?
If FIFA doesn’t enforce this then who will? We must make moral and ethical decisions for our sport as it relates to Federations that violate these aspects of ethics and governance, and for countries that violate human rights and international law.
So, instead of writing headlines that say “Solo says to vote no for WC,” which is simply false, how about taking a hard look at the issues and realizing the opportunity a World Cup bid presents to create real change?
Of course, I want soccer in my country to flourish. But I don’t want money being put into the pockets of MLS owners and others who continue to alienate so many.
To associate my comments as a disgruntled employee is convenient and wrong. I am proud of the issues I and the other change candidates raised during my campaign for presidency. After entering the race at the very end of the campaign, I finished 5th of 8 and felt all of the change candidates accomplished a lot. We knew the establishment would win, but through the process, we brought many in the soccer community together on the issues we all care about.
Sport is supposed to be pure and beautiful, yet we award these events to countries who are not in compliance with some of FIFA’s own standards. People around the world want to see a more honest and transparent game. I will continue to push for integrity within the game that I love.
Integrity, honesty and transparency in our sport is vital as we build for the future. There simply will not be a future without it.