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Infantino: Travel ban could hurt U.S. 2026 World Cup bid

FIFA President Gianni Infantino hasn’t outright stated the Trump administration’s travel ban on Muslim countries would stop the U.S. from winning a 2026 World Cup bid, but the implication of his statements are fairly heavy.

Speaking in London on Thursday, Infantino made clear that a country wishing to host the World Cup must be accessible for all participating nations. The statement could potentially leave the U.S. out to dry if any of the six countries banned in Trump’s second executive ordered-travel ban qualify for the expanded 48 team tournament.

“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. That is obvious.” said Infantino.

Currently, the new travel ban encompasses six countries, of which Iran is the highest-ranked at 33rd, with Syria, Lybia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen also included, though Iraq has been left out this time. While qualifying for the 2026 World Cup won’t begin for the next five years, the statement throws a wrench in the U.S. plan if the travel ban is upheld and continued into the future. Infantino stated that full bid requirements would be unveiled in the near future.

“Mr. Trump is the president of the United States of America and as such of course [I have] huge respect for what he does.” said Infantino. “He’s in charge, together with his government, to take decisions that are best for his country. That’s why he has been elected. In the world there are many countries who have bans, travel bans, visa requirements and so on and so forth.”

“We are now in the process of defining the bid requirements.” said Infantino. “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.”

21 comments
  • TJ

    I’m not in love with the travel ban, but 1,200 dead workers (or in the ballpark of 1,200 from what I’ve read previously) doesn’t hurt Qatar’s hosting rights? That’s by far a more inhumane offense in my opinion. Not to mention their entire bid was based on them building “state of the art stadiums” with super cooling ac units, that will make a summer world cup in Qatar safe. Ten years away from the tournament they had already admitted that’s impossible….

    Like

    • Mac

      I don’t think the issue is they are worried about it being humane (obviously or else they would have done something about Qatar; and I think it may be higher). Rather its an issue if, for example, Iran qualified for the WC, how does that work? Can Iranian fans come to watch?

      Which is kind of a moot point, as the ban is only for 120 days (not supporting the ban, just stating a fact) and they are worried about a the impacts of a WC almost 10 years from now.

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      • Gary Page

        FIFA’s concern is real. Yes, Trump won’t be President in 9 years, but if it was done once, how is anyone to know that it won’t be done again? That’s the problem with setting a bad precedent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kenny Sloth

        And then you have an airport full of middle eastern soccer stars and affluent fans locked up xD

        People can be pretty blind to the long term consequences of such atrocities

        Like

      • Rory

        Qatar has very strict immigration polices and refuses to accept any Syrian refugees… funny that never bothered FIFA. Russia isn’t exactly the most welcoming place to anyone who doesn’t look like most of their population either.

        Again, this is FIFA trying to make itself look good when in all reality we know they aren’t coming to America because the Justice Department has been arresting their corrupt butts lately.

        Like

  • Patrick

    It is not a ban on Muslims. It is a temporary halt on travel into the USA from countries that are terrorist strongholds. Which by the way leaves travel open to the USA for 90% of the world’s Muslim population. So take your “Muslim ban” rhetoric and shove it.

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    • johnny99

      I don’t know, it was Trump who told Giuliani “I want a Muslim ban, make it happen”. And this is what they came up with. Doesn’t seem unfair to call it a Muslim ban.

      Liked by 1 person

    • hmmmmmmmm

      Trump/his campaign very plainly, specifically, repeatedly stated to loud cheers from a segment of the population, that he would make it a priority to halt immigration from Muslim countries- not to worry- that he would go out of his way to accommodate Christian asylum seekers from the same. That he wanted to create a registry of all Muslims in the country, including born and bred citizens. Rhetoric is defined as persuasive, effective speaking. It has taken on a negative connotation more akin to being effectively deceptive. Thankfully Trump is neither… the clumsy attempt to now hide his previously stated intentions are anything but convincing.

      LoL. You don’t r e e e a l l y believe it has nothing to do with religion, why would you expect anyone else to?

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      • BraveCajun

        So political rhetoric should be given more weight than the actual language of the EO? Verifiable facts, based on the language of the EO, would easily point out that this temporary travel ban isn’t and can’t be considered a Muslim ban since + 90% of the Muslim population isn’t affected by it. LOLZ is for folks who ignore reality and easily discernible facts.

        As for the countries listed in the temporary travel ban, terrorist organizations currently run rampant within them and have weak central governments to vet potential travelers. Let ignore the fact that 72 individuals from these countries have been arrested for terrorist related charges and close to a third have been convicted. Let’s wait for someone to actually get killed before taking any othis seriously is a sound strategy.

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    • Gary Page

      This is not the place for politics, BUT, I must point out that the countries listed have provided no nationals who have killed anyone in a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, countries not listed, like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and some others, have provided nationals who have killed thousands. Also, the Dept. of Homeland Security produced a report that concluded that the country of origin is not at all a predictor of who is or will be a terrorist. BTW, out side of Saudi Arabia, the country which has produced the terrorists who have killed the most people in the US is the US itself. So, I guess Americans who leave the country shouldn’t be allowed back in, using Trumpian logic.

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    • Super Nintendo Chalmers

      False. Why? There have been ZERO terrorist attacks on the US from people coming from the banned countries. OTOH, some of the countries not in his travel ban, like Saudi Arabia (15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers) have literally killed thousands of Americans. The other thing noteworthy about the countries not banned: #popularvoteloser has properties with his name on them in those counties.

      Like

  • Rory

    Let’s be honest..

    the US Justice Department arresting corrupt FIFA exec is more of a reason why FIFA will never set foot here again than any temporary ban that will be over and never heard from again in four months, let alone 9 years.

    Like

  • two cents/lowercase letters guy

    i think we’re entering a new era in which fifa ought to give more weight to group wc bids. europe has a state-of-the-art railway system joining it’s member nations, doesn’t it? and the ‘chunnel’ provides easy access to britain, yes? why not get 3 or 4 european nations to put a bid together. i’ll bet it’s reasonably practical and feasible to do so.

    and might the same thing be possible in other regions of the world? (i recall reading something about a joint usa-canada bid.)

    as the wc expands bigger and bigger (48 nations), and since the tournament only happens every four years, gee let’s see what’s 48*4 a simple rotation isn’t very practical anymore, is it?

    regarding the politics: i support this stance from fifa. the past is passed. let’s move forward with positive role modeling for world peace. i guess i’m not a big fan of trump’s travel ban.

    finally, i dispute the claim that those nations are “terrorist strongholds”. “terrorist” is subjective. one might say, from a british perspective, that all of the participants of the boston tea party were “terrorists.” the fact is that the usa has all of the nukes and all of the military power. imo it is just doing what all big fish do and it likes to eat little fish.

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    • two cents/lowercase letters guy

      i mean usa has probably by far the most nukes, not all of the nukes

      Like

  • usfan123

    “F .. you FIFA and Gianni” you guy BS and corrupt as always. Soccer just a sport not a country. I am a soccer fan but give a finger to FIFA and do not care which country for world cup. You guy stupidly give WC to Qatar then keep BS. Go head and eat your own shit Gianni

    Like

  • Fred

    The perception is that the U.S. is no longer a welcoming country; that is the narrative at the moment regardless of what the ban does or does not do. As a result of this message and this period of uncertainty, international bookings to the U.S. are down and most likely will continue to fall, and our 2026 bid will remain in jeopardy.

    Like

    • Flagermunsen

      This is true. I sat in a meeting two days ago with a team of people, many based in Germany, who were arguing against using a US supplier. It was purely emotional and one of the people finally came out and said it– “why should we give business to the US right now when they are talking about removing the Visa waiver?” It makes no sense, I know, and I argued that the best supplier should be picked and current political environments ignored. However, the perception that the US in unwelcoming, and unwilling to cooperate with other countries is real whether that is true in reality or not. And, there are consequences of how we are viewed in the world.

      Like

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