UI expresses interest in hosting World Cup games at Kinnick

BY MICHELE DANNO | MAY 11, 2009 7:30 AM

The UI’s beloved Kinnick Stadium may host something even bigger than Hawkeye football games in 2018 or 2022.

The U.S. Bid Committee for the FIFA World Cup — the international men’s soccer championship — has sent letters of interest to 70 stadiums in the country, including Kinnick.

“We received a copy of the letter addressed to the University of Iowa Department of Athletics from the Bid Committee, and we indicated that we would be interested in pursuing the event in Kinnick,” said Paula Jantz, a Hawkeye associate athletics director.

Dozens of other major U.S. stadiums also responded, including Soldier Field in Chicago, Memorial Stadium in Omaha, and the University of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Jantz noted the event would bring attention to Iowa City and the UI on an international level.

“We all understand and know the popularity of soccer, and certainly, it would be a great opportunity for the UI and Iowa City to have a competition of this nature in our community,” she said. “It would bring in revenue and provide an opportunity to showcase the university and the community.”

Rick Fosse, Iowa City’s public-works director, said he is confident the city would be able to host such a massive event.

“It’s an exciting thing for us,” he said. “Something we do each summer in preparation for fall football events is hold a meeting with UI people and Iowa City community members to discuss traffic control and crowd control. I would expect we would do something like that for this.”

But many from the UI are skeptical of how practical it would be to hold the international event in Iowa City.

“As much as I would like to see this happen, I don’t think it is realistic,” UI sophomore David Carruthers said. “I don’t think Iowa City is big enough to hold the event. There’s no international airport, and we don’t have enough hotels. It would need to be in a city like Chicago.”

Jantz said the steps taken so far are very preliminary, and no decisions are close to being made.

“All we’ve done right now is indicate that we’re interested in being considered,” she said. “We are now waiting for information from the U.S. Soccer Association regarding guidelines and such. It really depends on the specifications for their particular championship.”

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