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Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Arizona law could affect U.S. bid

Posted by Leander Schaerlaeckens

Could Arizona's immigration law doom the United States' World Cup bid for 2018 and 2022?

Sure enough, the new law, which requires police officers in the state of Arizona to question and card anybody they suspect of being an illegal immigrant or risk being sued by their state's populace, could also have an impact on any World Cup the U.S. hopes to host in the future.

The University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Ariz., was among the 18 venues making the cut for the latest incarnation of the U.S. bid to host the World Cup (12 would be used for the tournament).

Aside from looking bad politically, what could the more practical implications be? Since the law is aimed primarily at illegal immigrants from Hispanic countries, would Arizona's police officers be required to question all World Cup visitors from south of the border, whether they are fans, officials, coaches or even players?

The New York Times probed several officials about the above questions but got no answers, suggesting that they too might be stumped by the implications of Arizona's landmark and highly controversial bill, which several other states -- some of which are also in the running to host World Cup games, if the U.S. wins the bid -- are also contemplating.

FIFA will come to the U.S. once more before handing out 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting duties on Dec. 2 (other countries pursuing the bid are Australia, England, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Qatar and joint bids from Belgium/Netherlands and Spain/Portugal.. The law is to go into effect on August.