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Matt Barrows / Sacramento Bee

The Levi’s Stadium field currently is too narrow to host a World Cup soccer match.

Is Levi's Stadium ready for some futbol?

Published: Friday, Jun. 13, 2014 - 8:16 am
Last Modified: Friday, Jun. 13, 2014 - 10:54 am

There are plenty of rumblings that the United States could get a second crack at hosting the 2022 World Cup now that the decision to allow Qatar to run the tournament is under review. The U.S. finished second in bidding to Qatar, which is being accused of essentially buying the bid.

No decision is likely to be made soon about the future of the ‘22 Cup. But it raises the question: If the good ol' USA were awarded the tournament, could the Bay Area be one of the sites? Antiquated Candlestick Park likely won't be standing at that point, and everyone who watched the ball get buffeted about by the stiff, late-spring wind – simply making the ball sit still for a corner kick was a challenge – in the recent friendly against Azerbaijan knows it's not an ideal venue anyway.

What about Levi's Stadium? As it's configured now, the field is too narrow to host a World Cup match. The dimensions for the tournament call for fields that are 70 to 80 yards wide and 110-120 yards long. A football field is 53.3 yards wide, and the 49ers' desire to bring fans as close as possible to the NFL action means they can't achieve the necessary width … without some tinkering.

I'm told that with “a few million dollars” worth of work, the corners in Levi's Stadium can be removed to accommodate a few matches. The 49ers didn't want a wider-than-desired field for a one-time event. But they'd likely concede to a quick facelift if it meant hosting some World Cup matches. Extra seating also likely would be installed in the stadium as it will be when the Bay Area hosts the Super Bowl in 2016.

Levi's Stadium and Seattle's Tinnitus Stadium are the newest NFL venues on the west coast. They, along with the Coliseum in Los Angeles, are the likeliest spots for World Cup matches in California should the 2022 tournament land here.


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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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