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Friday, March 2, 2018

North America risks hosting 2026 FIFA World Cup

Por MRod

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the first to feature 48 teams after FIFA approved expansion from 32 teams. The international men's football championship, which is the most spectacular event in the world, is pursued by two official bids: a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the United States, and a bid by Morocco.

Last week, FIFA president Joseph Blatter assured through his Twitter account that Morocco will be chosen as the organizer of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, ahead of the joint bid among the United States, Mexico and Canada. Senior executives of FIFA and other confederations told ESPN on Tuesday night, that Morocco is the country that would lead in votes to organize the tournament in eight years from now. The election will be carried out by a vote in the FIFA Congress, to be held between June 12 and 13 in Moscow.

Currently, FIFA has 211 member associations, of which the US, Mexico, Canada and Morocco cannot vote for being candidates, while the Federation of Guatemala is suspended by FIFA, so the winner will be decided with 104 votes or more. According to one of the sources cited in the publication, Morocco has the support of the majority of members from Asia and CONMEBOL, as well as the African continent, which would grant the country more than the 104 votes necessary to win the candidacy. On the other hand, the North American candidacy would have the support of CONCACAF, Oceania, the majority of the UEFA and part of Asia. Are you wondering why is this so?

The organizers of the joint bid between the US, Mexico and Canada are optimistic because the 2026 World Cup will be the first to have 48 participating teams, so the infrastructure and logistics of the organizer will be crucial. On the other hand, the global perception towards the US by the government of President Donald Trump would affect the candidacy according to some of the sources that ESPN cites. Yes, Mr. President will also interfere with the most popular sports event in the world.

Migratory restrictions on citizens of most Arab countries, stereotypical comments and the demeaning manner in which they have referred to developing countries could indirectly affect the decision of some voting members. Putting this into perspective proves them right. The publication points out that when organizers of the candidacy have visited other countries to ask for their support, they have been questioned about the treatment of foreigners in the US. For this reason, the organizers are strongly pointing to the support of Mexico and Canada in the candidacy.

The former president of the US Federation, Sunil Gulati, who is leading the joint bid, says that "the three governments, at the highest level, have shown their support for the bid to bring the World Cup to North America," according to ESPN. "The union between the three countries is extremely important especially because of what is happening in various parts of the world." Maybe a change of attitude towards foreigners in the US can make the votes change.