Did the US just blow a prized opportunity to host the FIFA World Cup 2026? Well, speculations are rife that the country may not be the prime contender to host the event anymore, even as Canada and Mexico may not support the bid in the polls. Has it anything got to do with Donald Trump’s victory. Well, that’s exactly how Trump had dreamt of making “America great again.” No more Mexico or Canadians in the economy; and certainly not in FIFA World Cup 2026 bids.
In a first of its kind crackdown on Monday afternoon, 4 players from the Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns football team were suspended for singing in an offensive video against the President-elect. Could that kind of newly established anarchy hinder other sports as well, especially soccer?
In October, the FIFA Council barred the UEFA and the ASEAN members from bidding for 2026 World Cup. Russia is hosting the 2018 edition, followed by Qatar in 2022.This made North America the top contender to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026. But that was in a totally different era, it seems. Hillary Clinton was leading Trump by 4 points then, and no one had imagined the annihilation of American dreams.
Until June 2016, even the US Soccer Federation was upbeat about the USA hosting the most-watched global event for the second time in the history, and like most Americans were hoping for the Democrats to come to the power in the recently concluded US Elections to bolster its efforts. In fact, US Soccer President Sunil Gulati had hinted that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is the biggest hurdle in its promotional activity. The promotion was expected to be a joint activity between the US, Mexico and Canada.
In a media briefing, Gulati had categorically mentioned the factors that boost US’s bid for Olympic Games in 2024 and FIFA World Cup 2026.
“Being successful in a World Cup bid or an Olympic bid for Los Angeles (in 2024) is affected by the world’s view of our leaders – not just leaders of the soccer federation.” – Sunil Gulati, President- US Soccer Federation
The US bid now certainly depends on who rules the White House.
However, the recent statement issued by the federation suggests that it is ready to “work with Donald” and would accept every decision he makes towards the bidding process for FIFA World Cup 2026. In the meanwhile, USA’s traditional political and sports nemesis, Russia is hosting the 2018 edition amidst the intense confusion. After it was shown the door from the Rio Olympic Games 2016, Russia is looking to reinstate its glory in world map through FIFA World Cup. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has pledged to ensure that he will clean up the bidding system, doping regulations and club transfer systems before 2018.
Does the US stand a chance then to host the FIFA World Cup 2026? Will Mexico and Canada support a neighbor who is now ruled by a “dictator”? America may not become great after all.
Video courtesy: Major League Soccer/ YouTube
Image courtesy: jeffersonassilva/ Pixabay