Though confirming the potential for a 2026 U.S. World Cup bid was still in discussion and not yet decided, USSF president Sunil Gulati stated that any bid concerns were ‘secondary’ to the Trump administration’s current immigration ban.
Among the myriad concerns originating from the immigration ban from several predominantly Muslim countries, a potential U.S.-hosted World Cup is low down the priority lists, stated Gulati, who confirmed that the federation would take a wait-and-see approach on how the ban affects the sport and any potential bid.
“Sports obviously involves international movement and free movement of players, of ideas,” Gulati said. “How this plays out in terms of international events, I think that’s frankly a secondary issue right now. The issue involving the executive order and its implications are far broader than that.”
“We haven’t made any commitments about ’26,” Gulati added. “The rules still haven’t been completely clarified, although more of them are now known in terms of numbers of teams, joint bids, but the process is still very much up in the air. Until we know more about that we’ll sit tight. We’re challenged by a number of things that are going on in the world. So let’s see how those play out over the next few weeks before we make any decision about co-hosting or going alone or bidding at all.”
Gulati also stated that while the federation did not have an official stance on the issue, he personally had no concerns or issues with U.S. captain Michael Bradley’s comments, originally shared via twitter before later being clarified on his Instagram. The ban has raised concerns among the U.S. soccer community, as several international players are up in the air regarding their ability to travel abroad to Canada for league matches.