With just over a month and a half until the June 13 vote that will decide the host of the 2026 World Cup, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to encourage support for the bid. The president also seemed to suggest that countries that did not support the bid would not get further support from the US in the future if they did not vote to give the tournament to the US, Mexico, and Canada.
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
Recent reports about the joint North American bid have noted that the Morocco bid is gaining ground. In fact, the bid committee went through a recent change of leadership with Sunil Gulati no longer chairing the organization. That decision was made after several sources with knowledge of the bid process noted that US politics were having a negative impact on the bid.
For its part, Morocco has also had its share of issues with FIFA as the organization evaluates the African nation’s qualifications for hosting the tournament. The world soccer governing body raised concerns about the infrastructure that Morocco currently has while the country has promised to spend $16 billion in improvements ahead of the 2026 World Cup. In addition, Morocco failed to disclose an anti-LGBTQ law to FIFA when it presented its bid to the organization.
While there have been rumblings that politics may influence how voters receive the joint bid, Trump’s tweet may also conflict with FIFA regulations. Reuters soccer writer Simon Evans reports that FIFA issued a statement that bidding country governments should avoid using politics to influence how nations vote on soccer matters. Evans reported that FIFA responded to a request for comment saying, “As a general rule, we cannot comment on specific statements in connection with the bidding process. We can only refer to the FIFA Regulations for the selection of the venue for the final competition of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and in particular to the Bid Rules of Conduct incorporated therein.”
Evans noted that the rules state:
“The Bid Rules of Conduct, online here, contain an explicit warning against activities by bidding country governments which ‘may adversely affect the integrity of the Bidding Process and create an undue influence on the Bidding Process.”’
In a statement responding to the president’s tweet, ESPN reported that the United 2026 bid committee said, “From the beginning, we have received strong support from the Canadian, Mexican and United States governments. 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.” The organization seems to be walking a fine line in welcoming the support via Twitter from the President of the United States of America while also going forward with caution as the crucial vote nears.