Four representatives from the World Cup '94 Organizing Committee arrived in Salt Lake Wednesday night to survey the city as a possible site for the 1994 World Cup.
Salt Lake is one of 32 cities in the United States vying to be a venue for the world's biggest sporting event in terms of overall interest. Between eight and 12 venues will be selected in mid-1991 for the soccer matches.The four-man group, headed by Organizing Committee Vice President Ross Berlin, was to take a tour of Rice Stadium at the University of Utah Thursday morning and meet with local dignitaries for lunch, before touring the local area in the afternoon.
Twenty-five cities were visited in the spring, but more were added to the list this fall. The committee visited Houston Tuesday and Denver Wednesday. They will visist Honolulu on Oct. 5.
The committee looks at eight main criteria in its site selection. The first is the stadium, which must meet certain requirements. To qualify, Rice Stadium would have to undergo extensive recontruction including a widened field, more seats - perhaps twice as many as present - larger press facilities and a grass field.
Other criteria include civic/goverment support, soccer interest support, population, geography, community infrastructure.
Salt Lake should do well in many of those areas, particularly "soccer interest and support." This summer, the Salt Lake Sting soccer club led 23 professional soccer teams in the nation in attendance with an average of 5,000 per game.
Earlier this year, Provo withdrew as a possible site for the World Cup when BYU officials said that Cougar Stadium couldn't be used.
Oral presentations by venue bid committees will be made in February and FIFA, soccer's world governing body, will inspect recommended venues in April. The selection of the 1994 World Cup venues could come as early as June.