Donald Trump hints at political repercussions for nations who oppose US World Cup bid

Morocco is putting up an unexpectedly strong challenge to host 2026 tournament with Fifa officials reportedly rankled by Trump’s travel ban

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 10:30am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 April, 2018, 10:30am

President Donald Trump said it would be “a shame if countries that we always support” lobbied against a joint North American bid to host the World Cup in 2026.

“Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?” Trump wrote on Twitter. He said that the US, along with Mexico and Canada, have “put together a STRONG bid”.

Fifa, the organisation that governs soccer worldwide, is expected to decide in June on the host for the 2026 competition, which will be the first to feature an expanded 48-nation field.

The US-led bid, which would feature matches in 23-cities across the US, Mexico, and Canada, has seen an unexpectedly strong challenge from Morocco, which has never before hosted the tournament.

That is in part because Trump’s travel ban, which suspends entry into the US from six majority-Muslim countries, has rankled top global soccer officials.

“When it comes to Fifa competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup,” Fifa president Gianni Infantino said at a press conference last year, according to The Guardian.

Under the US bid, 60 of the 80 matches would be played within the US. Canada and Mexico would each host 10 games.

Morocco, which has repeatedly sought to host the competition, has also recruited support from sports figures, including Sepp Blatter, the former Fifa president who has been banned from soccer since 2015 over allegations of financial and ethical misconduct.

The four bidding members will be excluded from the vote, meaning 207 member federations will decide.

Unlike past World Cup competitions, which have involved allegations of corruption, Fifa has said it will publish the vote of each member federation.