FIFA World Cup

UEFA president: U.S. travel ban would harm potential World Cup bid


The United States remains a candidate to host the 2026 World Cup but, according to a top FIFA official, a recent political development could have a negative impact on the country’s chances of securing the right to house the world’s biggest tournament.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says that U.S. president Donald Trump’s travel restrictions could be a major detriment to a potential World Cup bid. According to Ceferin, who is also vice president of FIFA, any measure that would prevent players, officials or journalists from entering the country will be counted against a potential host.

“It will be part of the evaluation, and I am sure it will not help the United States to get the World Cup,” Ceferin said, according to the New York Times. “If players cannot come because of political decisions, or populist decisions, then the World Cup cannot be played there. It is true for the United States, but also for all the other countries that would like to organize a World Cup.

“It is the same for the fans, and the journalists, of course. It is the World Cup. They should be able to attend the event, whatever their nationality is. But let’s hope that it does not happen.”

Ceferin went on to say that Brexit could also have a major soccer-related fallout, as England’s chances of hosting the World Cup, European Championship or Champions League final could be damaged.

The U.S. remains a favorite to host the 2026 tournament, either as a solo host or as part of a joint bid with Canada and/or Mexico. U.S. Soccer has yet to formally bid for the chance to host.

Bids for the 2026 tournament must be submitted by December 2018 with the official host selection coming in May 2020.

  • UclaBruinGreat

    Interesting to note that according to Trump (yes I know you can’t really believe anything he says) the travel ban will be temporary. Also, even if Trump completed two full terms, he would be out of office before that World Cup. I think the travel ban won’t factor in at all, but I could be wrong.


    • beto

      but the award will happen during this administration.

      this statement is as much political as it is logistical.


  • Manny

    We can always trust FIFA to do the right thing. They will select the biggest payday every time.


    • Old School

      Manny, Bac, Vik, and timberyanka have pretty much summed up all reasonable/legitimate responses to this nonsense.

      Divisive as the topic may be to some, FIFA/UEFA have absolutely no credibility to discuss such topics with any moral standing. I, quite literally, laughed out loud.


  • Vik

    Yea, while I understand the political statement this makes it’s hard to reconcile with recent awards to Russia and Qatar who have a host of freedom/societal issues that FIFA seemed to gloss over.


  • Byrdman

    It really doesn’t matter where you fall on the travel ban issue. This issue, the awarding of the World Cup, is all about the money. Yes they cleared out one group of crooks, and ushered in another group. The decision to go for more money, aka 48 teams, destroys what is an incredible tournament. Spend 4 preparing for 2 games. I know 3 is only one more. But that extra game keeps a team and a nation invested for 5 more days. What a shame.


  • timberyanka

    So shooting down commercial airliners is okay… Using slave labor to build stadiums in 120 degrees is also okay… Glad to know UEFA’s priorities on this. That being said, this whole travel ban is also stupid on so many levels.


  • Swifty

    So a (supposedly) few month travel ban from 2017 is somehow grounds to deny a nation a tournament 9 or more years down the road, long after this president will be out of the picture? Makes zero sense. Stay in your lane, FIFA.


  • c4how

    Remind me again why Israel is in UEFA and not in the AFC like its neighbors Lebanon, Syria, “Palestine,” and Jordan, please?


  • TheFrenchOne

    For decades, the rest of the world has imposed this ridiculous double standard on the US but gives every other country a pass. I guess that’s what you get for being the only remaining superpower and for trying to do the right thing, not just for Americans, but for the whole world.

    I know Gulati won’t be able to restrain himself and will decide to opine again on the temporary travel ban because he wants to make sure everyone knows he doesn’t support Trump. I guarantee you that if the US was awarded the 2026 WC, they will make necessary accommodations so that soccer teams from countries who may still be on some watch list will still be allowed to take part.

    I hope US Soccer submits a solo bid, doesn’t worry about politics, and let FIFA decide where they will make more money. They will choose money over “humanitarian rights” (air quotes intended) every time. Don’t let these punks bully us into a joint bid with Mexico and Canada.


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