Sunil Gulati

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Sunil Gulati
Sunil Gulati.jpg
Gulati in 2006
President of the United States Soccer Federation
In office
March 11, 2006 – February 10, 2018
Preceded byRobert Contiguglia
Succeeded byCarlos Cordeiro
Vice President of FIFA
In office
Personal details
Born (1959-07-30) July 30, 1959 (age 60)
Allahabad, India
Alma materBucknell University
Columbia University

Sunil Gulati (/ˈsnl ɡˈlɑːti/ SOO-neel goo-LAH-tee;[citation needed] born July 30, 1959) is the former President of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) from 2006 to 2018. In April 19, 2013, he was elected to a four-year term on the FIFA Council.[1][2] In March 2014, he was unanimously re-elected to a record third four-year term as USSF president; having been elected initially in 2006 and re-elected again in 2010. Gulati is also a senior lecturer in the economics department of Columbia University.[3] He is the former president of Kraft Soccer for the New England Revolution in Major League Soccer.

On December 4, 2017, Gulati announced that he will not seek a fourth term as President of the US Soccer Federation.[4] On February 10, 2018, he was succeeded by his vice-president Carlos Cordeiro.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Gulati was born in Allahabad, India. His family moved to Connecticut when he was five years old, and he grew up playing soccer.[6] Gulati is an alumnus of Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Connecticut. He graduated magna cum laude from Bucknell University and earned his M.A. and M.Phil. in economics at Columbia University. In 1991, he joined the World Bank through its Young Professionals Program and served as country economist for Moldova.

Soccer development service[edit]

Gulati has a longstanding involvement in the administration of the United States Soccer Federation, with former USSF president and Major League Soccer founder Alan Rothenberg calling Gulati "the single most important person in the development of soccer in this country".[7] Gulati first became involved with the USSF through his employment as a youth coach and administrator in local Connecticut leagues while attending college.[8] Gulati became a prominent volunteer federation staffer and adviser in the 1980s during the presidency of Werner Fricker, and began working in the game full-time upon taking the job of deputy commissioner of Major League Soccer when the league was formed following the 1994 FIFA World Cup hosted by the U.S., which Gulati played a major role in organizing.

Gulati was elected USSF President in March 2006,[9][6] succeeding Robert Contiguglia; Gulati had served as federation vice president for six years and played a key role in major USSF board decisions for many years prior to his election as president. In February 2010, he was re-elected for another four-year term as USSF president.[10]

In February 2009, Gulati announced that the USSF would bid for the right to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. He chaired the World Cup U.S. Bid Committee Board of Directors[11] and visited 20 of the 22 member voters on the FIFA Executive Committee.[12] The United States, however, was not selected to host either World Cup. In 2011, he was recognized and awarded the 2011 Trailblazer Award from the Association of South Asians in Media, Marketing and Entertainment (SAMMA) for his outstanding contributions to the world of U.S. sports.

In 2012, Sunil Gulati spearheaded the formation of a new professional women's soccer league in the United States.[13] The previous two attempts to form a women's league by the Women's United Soccer Association and Women's Professional Soccer folded in three years. On October 21, 2012, the USSF, the Canadian Soccer Association, and the Mexican Football Federation made a joint announcement on the creation of a new women's soccer league with clubs playing in Boston, Chicago, Kansas City, New Jersey, western New York, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., Gulati advocated a "sustainable economic model", with the new league having a unique feature of the three federations paying the salaries of their national team players who play in this league.[14][15][16]

In 2018, after the US failed to qualify for the World Cup, Gulati chose not to run for re-election as president, and was succeeded by Carlos Cordeiro. Gulati remains the chairman of the USSF's joint bid with Mexico and Canada to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Career in academia[edit]

Because the United States Soccer Federation has a full-time professional staff handling the federation's day-to-day business, Gulati is able to maintain a parallel, full-time career in academia. Sunil Gulati is a senior lecturer in economics at Columbia University, having also previously served on the Columbia economics faculty from 1986 to 1990. At Columbia, Gulati teaches principles of economics, global economics, and sports economics. The sports economics class is often heavily over-subscribed, with students known to camp out overnight to secure a place.[7]

FIFA Executive Committee[edit]

Gulati was elected to the FIFA Executive Committee on April 19, 2013 following a narrow 18-17 vote over Mexican Federation of Association Football President Justino Compeán at the CONCACAF Congress in Panama City, Panama.[17][18] Of the four executive committee meetings in 2013, Gulati attended three of them.[19] The fourth meeting was held before Gulati's election.[20][21][22][23] Gulati was one of several executive committee members to call for the publication of the Garcia Report into allegations of corruption surrounding Russia and Qatar's bids for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Gulati lives in the New York City area with his wife and two children.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "US Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati elected to FIFA executive committee". The Washington Post. August 21, 2012.
  2. ^ "Promotion and relegation in the USA? Sunil Gulati on why it's not in place". Sports Illustrated. 8 February 2017.
  3. ^ "COLUMBIA, ECONOMICS : Sunil Gulati: Senior Lecturer (profile page)". Columbia University.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "CARLOS CORDEIRO ELECTED AS 32ND U.S. SOCCER PRESIDENT". US Soccer Federation. February 10, 2018. Retrieved February 10, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Joshua Rohinson) (April 14, 2006). "Economics Professor Seeks U.S. Soccer Model". The New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c Whiteside, Kelly (May 1, 2006). "USSF president Gulati is professor of the pitch". USA Today.
  8. ^ "Sunil Gulati's steady rise, with the biggest work yet to come". June 7, 2013.
  9. ^ "Gulati is acclaimed new USSF president; board size is slashed". SoccerTimes. March 11, 2006.
  10. ^ "Sunil Gulati Unanimously Re-elected as President of U.S. Soccer". U.S. Soccer. February 6, 2010. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014.
  11. ^ "U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati And Other Board Members Discuss the USA's 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bid". U.S. Soccer. February 2, 2009. Archived from the original on August 24, 2012.
  12. ^ Grant Wahl (December 2, 2010). "U.S. rests hopes on tireless Gulati". Sports Illustrated.
  13. ^ Andrew Das (September 17, 2012). "Gulati Talks About New Women's Coach and New Women's League". New York Times.
  14. ^ "U.S. Women's League Conference Call Quote Sheet". U. S. Soccer. Archived from the original on 2012-12-05.
  15. ^ "USA announces new women's league".
  16. ^ "Soccer-New women's soccer league launched in U.S." Yahoo! Sports.
  17. ^ Evans, Simon. "U.S's Gulati elected to FIFA executive committee". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  18. ^ "US Soccer president Sunil Gulati elected to FIFA Executive Committee in CONCACAF vote". Major League Soccer. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "Financial Report 2013" (PDF). FIFA. p. 55. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  20. ^ "FIFA Executive Committee Meeting No. 26 Agenda" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  21. ^ "FIFA Executive Committee Meeting No. 27 Agenda" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "FIFA Executive Committee Meeting No. 28 Agenda" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  23. ^ "FIFA Executive Committee Meeting No. 29 Agenda" (PDF). FIFA. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  24. ^ "Fifa prosecutor Michael Garcia calls for World Cup report to be made public". The Guardian. September 24, 2014. Retrieved September 24, 2014.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia
President of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF)
Succeeded by
Carlos Cordeiro