Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke indicated yesterday the new football stadium he intends to build for his team will be configured so it can host the 1994 World Cup soccer finals.
"We are very much interested in hosting the World Cup," Cooke said. "We would hope to host" the championship match.
Sources have said Cooke intends to build a stadium with a capacity of 72,000 to 78,000 seats. A new facility of that size that also has the proper field dimensions likely would make the nation's capital a front-runner to host the championship match.
According to specifications created by FIFA, soccer's world governing body, World Cup sites must have a playing area considerably wider than the one that is needed to accommodate an NFL field. In addition, FIFA will not award the World Cup championship to a venue with fewer than 60,000 seats.
RFK Stadium, which meets FIFA's width requirements, currently seats about 55,000. But organizers of the group preparing Washington's bid for World Cup matches believe they can temporarily increase its capacity to 60,000. However, a group of investors led by developer John Akridge is seeking a National League baseball expansion franchise for RFK Stadium. The new teams will begin play in 1993, and the presence of a baseball team at RFK Stadium could cause a scheduling conflict.
Cooke said he has discussed the World Cup with U.S. Soccer Federation President Alan Rothenberg. Rothenberg served as in-house counsel for Cooke's California Sports Inc., which ran the Forum, the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the North American Soccer League's Los Angeles Wolves. Cooke and Rothenberg remain close.Silver-Tongued Devils
With the Detroit Lions expecting a near-capacity crowd of about 78,000 for Sunday's game against the Redskins at the Silverdome, Coach Joe Gibbs said he has spoken with his team about the potential for noise problems.
"There's no way for us to work on it out here," he said. "We're just going to have to have them ready to know it's going to be brutally loud." Injury Update
Linebacker Monte Coleman (sprained knee) practiced for the first time this week, but he "didn't work much," said Gibbs, who added the Redskins likely will wait until warm-ups Sunday to decide on his playing status. Wide receiver Gary Clark did not practice because of a strained quadriceps, but is expected to play. Defensive back Brian Davis left practice early because of cramping in his calf.