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Rice-Eccles removed from World Cup list

NEW YORK — Thirteen more stadiums have been dropped from consideration for the U.S. bid to host soccer's World Cup in 2018 and 2022, leaving 32 under consideration.

Failing to make the cut Thursday were Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala.; Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati; Ohio Stadium in Columbus; Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville, Ark.; Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.; the planned Sports City USA venue in Las Vegas; the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis; the Superdome in New Orleans; Heinz Field in Pittsburgh; Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City; the Alamodome in San Antonio; and Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

An initial list of 70 stadiums was released in April. Twenty-seven were dropped in June, while Las Vegas and Salt Lake City were added, and the remainder were asked to complete proposals by July 29.

U.S. organizers must submit their bid book to FIFA by May, and FIFA's executive committee plans to select the 2018 and 2022 hosts in December 2010. FIFA asked that 12-18 stadiums of 40,000 capacity or higher be submitted with each bid.

Remaining stadiums have an average capacity of nearly 74,000, and eight are 80,000 or more — the minimum needed for the opener and the final. Other planned venues, such as a stadium for the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., could be added.

Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands-Belgium, Russia, Spain-Portugal have also bid to host both World Cups, and Qatar and South Korea bid for 2022 only.

England and Spain are seen as the leading contenders to host in 2018, while the United States is viewed as a top candidate for 2022.

Nine venues were used when the U.S. hosted in 1994: Chicago; Dallas; East Rutherford, N.J.; Foxborough, Mass; Orlando, Fla.; Pontiac, Mich.; Stanford, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; and Pasadena, Calif., where the final was held. Since then, the tournament has expanded from 24 to 32 nations.

Next year's World Cup will be in South Africa, and the 2014 host is Brazil.