Mayor Leppert on Losing World Cup to Qatar: "There's a Lot of Disappointment"
Mayor Tom Leppert and Dallas World Cup Bid Committee co-chairs Clark Hunt and Jim Graham react to Dallas and the U.S. losing to Qatar.
Photos by Sam Merten
As Robert mentioned earlier, the U.S. lost to Qatar in its bid for the 2022 World Cup, leaving the couple hundred folks gathered in the lobby at City Hall speechless. Still smiling as the news was announced on a big screen TV, Mayor Tom Leppert said afterward that he couldn't think of anything Dallas and the U.S. could have done differently, noting that the U.S. scored a perfect 100 in the FIFA ratings.
"I think there's a lot of disappointment," he said. "I will tell you here in Dallas and here in the United States, I don't think anyone could have done a better job."
Clark Hunt, owner of FC Dallas and co-chair of the Dallas World Cup Bid Committee, said the question isn't if the World Cup will return to the U.S.; it's a matter of when. China -- the frontrunner for '26 before Qatar won (the games can't be held on the same continent in consecutive World Cups, as pointed out by a couple Friends of Unfair Park) -- is expected to bid for the '30 games.
Leppert said there's still a lot of enthusiasm in the region to ensure Dallas becomes a part of the World Cup when it does come back. He cited the recent NBA All-Star Game and upcoming Super Bowl and NCCA Final Four as reasons why the city has already established itself as a premier sports venue in the U.S. and said "it's only a matter of time" when it will be viewed the same way worldwide.
So, what happened?
"We'll have to figure out what happened over time," Leppert said.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.