US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on six mainly Muslim countries could hurt his country’s proposed bid to host the FIFA World Cup 2026.
The US is considered favorite to host the centerpiece of world football. FIFA President Gianni Infantino says however that Trump’s signing of an executive order that places a 90-day travel ban on people from six Muslim majority nations on Monday could seriously harm its chances.
Trump’s revised ban bars new visas for those from Somalia, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya and Yemen and also temporarily blocks all refugees from these countries.
“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,” Infantino, the head of football’s world governing body, told reporters following a meeting with football leaders from around the globe held in London, Bloomberg reported.
“The requirements will be clear,” Infantino said of FIFA’s regulations for future hosts, which are likely to be completed later this year. “And then each country can make up their decision, whether they want to bid or not based on the requirements. Nothing to do with the US or not, it’s general sporting criterion.”
It is understood the US, which has lost several prior bids to host the tournament, including being beaten by a bid from Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup, is weighing up an application either alongside Mexico or Canada, or on its own.
The 2026 World Cup Finals will be the first to feature an enlarged 48-team format, which FIFA voted in favor of in January.
The US last hosted the World Cup 23 years ago at World Cup USA ‘94, where Brazil triumphed after beating Italy on penalties in the final, courtesy of Italian sensation Roberto Baggio missing his deciding spot kick in the shootout.
It was somewhat fitting that a missed penalty decided World Cup USA ’94, as the tournament’s opening ceremony became famous for Diana Ross comically missing her spot kick effort during the routine that accompanied the songstress’ rendition of her hit ‘I’m Coming Out.’