President Trump threatens political repercussions over 2026 World Cup bid
President Donald Trump waded into the campaign aimed at bringing the 2026 FIFA World Cup to the United States on Thursday, tweeting out a veiled threat to withdraw political support from nations who vote against the bid.
In a wildly surprising development, Trump, who previously has shown little appetite for soccer, appeared to throw his full backing behind the three-pronged bid that would see the U.S., Mexico and Canada potentially act as co-hosts of soccer’s biggest tournament.
“The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup,” Trump wrote. “It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?”
The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2018
The business mogul turned politician did not specify which countries he was referring to, but the only other contender in the race to be host is Morocco. Due to the political nature of FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, and the tactical nature of voting in such matters, it is widely expected that Morocco will have the support of virtually the entire African continent.
Other voting blocks, including those from Europe and Asia, still are seen as very much up for grabs, with the vote due to be finalized June 13, just before the start of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“From the beginning, we have received strong support from the Canadian, Mexican and United States governments,” a statement from the bid committee read, in response to Trump’s remarks. “We are grateful for that support and together our three countries are ready to welcome players and fans from around the world to an extraordinary FIFA World Cup in 2026.”
FIFA pointed to its rules governing the selection of the 2026 World Cup hosts on Friday, one day after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned supporting countries that lobby against a joint North American bid.
The governing body’s code of ethics prohibits government interference in all member countries’ respective national soccer federations, and the bidding regulations also warn against “any undue influence on the outcome.”