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16 May 2018

Could Donald Trump derail US plans to host the World Cup?
BY Tom Walker

Trump's uncompromising style has riled FIFA officials

Trump's uncompromising style has riled FIFA officials
photo: Shutterstock

US President Donald Trump could, inadvertently, foil US Soccer's plans to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The president has been vocal in his support for the bid to bring the world's largest sporting event to the US.

Trump's uncompromising and unconventional style of diplomacy, however, is in danger of unintentionally alienating the people who matter the most when it comes to deciding who will be handed the event.

The US launched a joint bid with Mexico and Canada for the tournament in 2017 and early signs were promising, with the international football federation FIFA praising the bid for having all the facilities needed to host a "successful tournament".

Since then, however, Trump has insisted on plans to build a wall between the US and potential World Cup partner Mexico.

As well as estranging one of the US' closest allies for securing the tournament, Trump has also unleashed one of his famous Twitter rants against Morocco – the only other country bidding for the 2026 World Cup.



The president has effectively threatened to cut aid and other forms of support to countries which are prepared to support the Moroccan bid – which, in Trump's view, constitutes to opposing the joint North American bid.

His threats relating to the Morrocan bid hasn't gone down well with African member nations of FIFA – who could ultimately decide the winner of the bid for the 2026 tournament due to the number of votes they hold.

Trump's interference in the bid has also fallen foul of FIFA, which has – in response to the president's rhetoric – repeatedly referenced its bid rules, which prohibit "political activities" that can have "undue influence on the bidding process".

The host of the 2026 tournament will be voted for at the FIFA Congress on 13 June.



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