Obama would like to attend World Cup in SA

WASHINGTON - American president Barack Obama lobbied the head of international football on the United States bid to host the World Cup and said he hoped to attend next year's tournament in South Africa.

WASHINGTON - American president Barack Obama lobbied the head of international football on the United States bid to host the World Cup and said he hoped to attend next year's tournament in South Africa.

Obama met with Fifa president Sepp Blatter at the White House to discuss United States prospects of attracting the tournament in 2018 or 2022.

Blatter again invited Obama to attend the World Cup in South Africa, and the US president said he'd like to make that trip.

"You know, I hope to," Obama said to reporters as he walked back toward the West Wing after a separate event. "We're going to take a look at the schedule."

Blatter said he heard the same message during their closed-door meeting, which included some football moves in the Oval Office.

Obama bounced the ball on his foot, "making two, three movements, and then he took it to his head", Blatter said.

Asked how Obama did, Blatter said the move "merits a compliment".

He then added Obama is not ready for the United States team that almost defeated Brazil.

Blatter presented Obama with a football from that Confederations Cup match, which the US team lost 3-2 after leading 2-0.

"I told him it was the ball of the first half," Blatter told reporters outside the White House after his meeting.

Blatter has been dour on his sport's popularity in the United States but said the country has "a good chance" to host the World Cup for the first time since 1994.

The entire football movement in the US could receive a tremendous boost if the 2018 or 2022 World Cup is awarded to the Americans. Fifa will decide in December next year, with England considered the front-runner for 2018.

Blatter has expressed a preference for bringing the tournament back to Europe after stints in Africa and then South America, where Brazil will host the 2014 World Cup. - Sapa-AP

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