The FIFA World Cup obviously wouldn’t come to the United States as long as its government bans people from some countries from entering.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino declared as much Thursday in London when he told reporters that U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order, which temporarily prohibits travel from six Muslim-majority countries, would prevent the U.S. from hosting future World Cups.
“Teams who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. That is obvious,” Infantino said at a FIFA Executive Summit, according to The Guardian’s Tim Hill.
“Mr Trump is the president of the United States of America, and as such, of course, I have huge respect for what he does. He’s in charge, together with his government, to take decisions that are best for his country. That’s why he has been elected.”
The U.S. hosted the 1994 World Cup and bid unsuccessfully for the right to stage it in 2022.
The U.S. Soccer Federation hasn’t announced whether it will bid for the 2026 World Cup, but many believe the U.S. is the only logical destination for FIFA’s first 48-team World Cup. Bids are due at FIFA by December 2018, and world soccer’s governing body will announce a winner in May 2020.
Infantino indicated FIFA could mandate free entry into a given country when determining future World Cup hosts.
“We are now in the process of defining the bid requirements,” he said. “In the world there are many countries who have bans, travel bans, visa requirements and so on and so forth. It’s obvious when it comes to FIFA competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup.
“The requirements will be clear. And then each country can make up their decision, whether they want to bid or not based on the requirements.”
Trump’s revised executive order bans travel from Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. Iran has competed in four World Cups, while the other countries have never qualified for FIFA’s showcase tournament.
Russia is scheduled to host the 2018 World Cup, and Qatar is set to do so in 2022.
Thumbnail photo via Jack Gruber/USA TODAY Images
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