A tweet by President Donald Trump in support of the U.S. bid to host the 2026 World Cup along with Canada and Mexico has run afoul of FIFA guidelines.
“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)?” Trump tweeted Thursday.
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
In a statement to Reuters, FIFA officials pointed to the bid rules guidelines that prohibit officials associated with the bid from trying to influence it.
“As a general rule, we cannot comment on specific statements in connection with the bidding process,” they said. “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.”
FIFA respond to Trump tweet by offering a reminder of World Cup bid rules. Those rules warn 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." Story to follow
— Simon Evans (@sgevans) April 27, 2018
Specifically, FIFA’s Bid Rules of Conduct state:
“… in case of an employee, representative, consultant of, or person by any other means affiliate to, a Candidate Host Association, refraining from making any written or oral statements of any kind, whether adverse or otherwise, in relation to the bids of other member associations that expressed their interest in submitting to FIFA a bid to host the final competition of the 2026 FIFA World Cup or other Candidate Host Associations.”
North America and Morocco are the two finalists for the 2026 World Cup. FIFA will make its decision June 13 before the start of this year’s World Cup in Moscow.
The North America bid would have matches played in 23 cities, including three in Canada, three in Mexico, and 17 in the U.S.
Cincinnati among the US host cities included in the United Bid for World Cup 2026: pic.twitter.com/V8tw6PPpjq
— Andrew Erickson (@AEricksonAU) March 15, 2018
Trump has been supportive of the effort to land the World Cup.
“We have the full support of the United States government in this project,” said Sunil Gulati, chairman of the bid committee, according to The Washington Post. “The President of the United States is fully supportive and encouraged us to have this joint bid. He is especially pleased that Mexico is part of this bid — and that’s in the last few days we’ve gotten further encouragement on that.”
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto responded to Trump’s tweet by stating, “We can have differences but football unites us. Together we support the candidacy of Mexico, Canada and USA as the headquarters of the World Cup 2026.”
— Enrique Peña Nieto (@EPN) April 27, 2018
It’s unclear how this will impact the selection process. Reuters reported that Morocco already has the support of most African and Middle East nations, along with France and Russia.
Each country — no matter how big or small — gets one vote. Africa has 54 nations in the voting bloc, which is just over half of the countries that are part of FIFA.
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