(MENAFN - Arab News) Rio de janeiro: fifa secretary general jerome valcke on tuesday said he had been impressed by the soaring popularity of the world cup in the united states which has discussed a possible bid for the tournament in 2026
Speaking to brazilian television channel sportv valcke said fifa had noted the record viewing figures for world cup matches in the united states
'what we have seen during this world cup in the united states is incredible" valcke was quoted as saying through an interpreter. 'huge interest record television figures even surpassing the nba (basketball)" valcke added
More than 15 million americans tuned in to watch germany defeat the united states 1-0 in their world cup group finale broadcasters espn and univision said
The americans' previous 2-2 draw with portugal pulled in an average 18.2 million viewers on espn alone to become what the network called 'the most-viewed soccer match in the united states ever.
The us world cup campaign came to a brave end on tuesday with a 2-1 defeat to belgium after extra-time
But valcke said he was convinced the sport had now gained a solid foothold in america and appeared to give tacit encouragement to a possible us bid in 2026
'it shows that football in the united states is strong and we should continue to work with us soccer and the united states who have talked about organizing the world cup in 2026" valcke added
The united states which staged a successful world cup in 1994 made an unsuccessful bid for the 2022 tournament controversially awarded to qatar after a corruption-tainted vote in 2010
In may us soccer president sunil gulati a member of the fifa executive committee confirmed american officials were mulling over a possible 2026 bid but said fifa would need to change its bidding procedure first
'the answer is maybe" gulati said in new york when asked. 'maybe we'll bid ... we're not going to bid unless the rules of the game are changed."