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Sunil Gulati thinks something other than money influences World Cup bids

He's not saying Trump is bad, but he's not not saying it either

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about the United States bidding for the World Cup in a scenario where Donald Trump is president, Sunil Gulati didn't outright say Trump is a fearmongering xenophobe who plays into cheap racist rhetoric for ultraconservative support, but he did imply that Trump would affect the way the rest of the world sees the US in terms of its international relationships. And the way they would see this country under Trump would negatively influence a bid for the premiere non-Olympic world sports event.

"I think having somebody in the White House that gives the country an outward-looking view and a personality that is more easily accepted around the world is positive for the United States," Gulati said, as reported by Goal.

Gulati is of course talking about the 2026 World Cup, which would theoretically take place after a Trump presidency even if he won two terms, but the bidding process happens much sooner than that.

What's interesting is that Gulati seems to think that anything other than money influences World Cup bids, which is incredibly optimistic of him, especially in light of the fact that Russia and Qatar are hosting the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively. Neither country is really known for its progressivism or liberal leadership.

Admittedly, those countries winning FIFA bids helped spur investigations into FIFA that ultimately led to Sepp Blatter's departure, but it's not like they then re-opened the bidding process.

Is Gulati actually heralding real change to FIFA, the kind where the bidding process takes into account a variety of factors and not just how much cash officials can line their pockets with on the DL? Is he just acknowledging that international relations probably wouldn't be ideal under Trump, answering the question he was asked? Is he secretly a Hillary shill mobilizing the powerful soccer vote?

Leave all your best conspiracy theories in the comments.