BOSTON -- The United States will participate in the first indoor game in World Cup history on June 18, 1994, according to event sources.
The soccer match will be among four contested in the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. A grass surface, which is being tested in Savannah, Ga., will be installed above the artificial turf.
"In all honesty, we're not sure of the likelihood of the grass lasting more than a month," World Cup spokesman John Griffin said. "But we fully expect the grass to last beyond two weeks."
ABC, which will televise 11 matches, apparently influenced the decision to schedule the match indoors. All 52 matches will be shown on either ABC or ESPN, with an expected worldwide audience exceeding 30 billion.
The concept of indoor soccer is radical at this level of competition, and there were other breaks with tradition in Tuesday's announcement of the World Cup schedule.
Two matches, instead of one, are planned for the opening day, June 17, 1994. Defending champion Germany will meet a second-seeded nation at Soldier Field in Chicago; another match will be contested later in the day at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Also, semifinal matches will be played on June 13 at Giants Stadium and the Rose Bowl, instead of on separate days, to avoid a conflict with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on June 12.
A total of 52 matches involving 24 nations will conclude with the championship game July 17, 1994, at the Rose Bowl.
Only Germany, as defending champion, and the United States, as host nation, are exempt from qualifying. The final draw will be held Dec. 18 and 19, 1993, in Las Vegas, following a worldwide qualifying tournament involving 582 matches.
The average ticket price is expected to be at least $50, but none will be available until next year.