I normally refrain from writing about Stan Kroenke.

It’s too easy.

But I do make an exception if he’s in the sports news.

And St. Louis is a Soccer Town, so …

Kroenke will likely lose out in the competition to host the 2026 World Cup final at his SoFI Stadium in Los Angeles.

So-Fi had long been considered the strong favorite to host the final, but that will change. According to a report in the Times of London, the playing dimensions in Kroenke’s $5 billion venue is too narrow to conform with FIFA’s requirements.

To comply with FIFA’s standards, the width of the field would have to be increased by as much as 63 feet. To get it done, construction crews would have to remove seats closest to the pitch and raise the playing surface.

FIFA prefers a stadium that can accommodate 80,000 fans for the final, but ripping out seats to widen the playing field would decrease the SoFi capacity to below 70,000. And that would likely be a problem for the World Cup organizers. SoFi already had an issue because of its current 70,240 seating capacity.

Perhaps Kroenke will get Rams executive Kevin Demoff on the case.

Probably not.

Demoff could make matters worse by creating a master plan that would actually narrow the field even more. Just joking … but you never know. The SoFi project was bedeviled by multiple construction delays, putting the final cost at a substantially larger expenditure than Kroenke anticipated.

Another potential option for Kroenke? Well, he could always try to bribe FIFA executives. That’s been a successful tactic for other upstanding citizens in the international soccer world. But we all know that Stan wouldn’t do that; he is an ethical and principled man. Right? Right?

Former NFL Executive VP Eric Grubman – remember him? – moved on from the league in 2018. That was three years after Grubman pushed the NFL to do a snatch-and-grab to haul the Rams to Inglewood. Perhaps Kroenke can call on Grubman to get him out of another mess, and I have a feeling that the FIFA bosses would like him.

Kroenke can’t even rely on his pal Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner who played the lead role in clearing the way for the Rams’ move from STL to LA by muscling other NFL owners to approve of the plan – even though the Rams had blatantly failed to satisfy the league’s requirements for a franchise move. The NFL paid $790 million to settle the St. Louis lawsuit.

Jones wants to have the 2026 World Cup final at Jerry World, the Arlington-based monument to himself. New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium is in contention and should benefit from Kroenke’s fiasco.

Since moving to Inglewood before the 2016 season, the Rams are 114-159-1 for a winning percentage of .418 that ranks 26th among the 32 NFL franchises. The Rams have played in two Super Bowls over that time, losing to the Patriots (2018 season) and defeating the Bengals to cap the 2021 campaign. But if you take away the two NFC Championship seasons, the LA Rams have won 89 of 241 games  under Kroenke’s leadership.

With Kroenke, it’s always something. The boy from Mora, Missouri is 75 years old and worth an estimated $13 billion (per Forbes.) Kroenke’s NHL Colorado Avalanche won the Stanley Cup last season and his  Arsenal club is closing in on the English Premier League title for 2023. The Arsenal fans kind of like him now. Kroenke isn’t interested in receiving Humanitarian awards. Making money drives Stan, so we can only assume he’s very happy despite the latest snafu. And I’m thinking he’ll find a way to secure the 2026 World Cup final for SoFi.

Thanks for reading ..


Bernie invites you to listen to his sports-talk show on 590 The Fan, KFNS-AM. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the show podcast at 590thefan.com or the 590 app.

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