Rabat - Sunil Gulati, President of US Soccer Federation has expressed concerns over the US 2026 World Cup bid. For Gulati, international political issues surrounding US President Donald Trump may affect the three-nation North American bid.
Rabat – Sunil Gulati, President of US Soccer Federation has expressed concerns over the US 2026 World Cup bid. For Gulati, international political issues surrounding US President Donald Trump may affect the three-nation North American bid.
Gulati described the bid as a “tough battle” for the three countries, according to to the US-based sports TV channel, ESPN .
The United States is involved in a joint bid with Mexico and Canada to claim eligibility to host the 2026 World Cup. The three-nation North American bid has one rival: Morocco.
The federation president is certain that the US-Canada-Mexico bid has all that it needs to make the voters support their bid.
“We have to go out and convince what eventually will be 104 voters to vote for us,” Gulati said. He added that the North American three-nation bid seeks a “few extra votes to break the one-vote swing. But this won’t be easy.”
Speaking about his concerns, Gulati mentioned recent US political controversies, such as the American embassy relocation to Jerusalem and Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.as potential roadblocks to the bid.
“This is not only about our stadiums and our hotels and all that. It’s about perceptions of America and it’s a difficult time in the world,” Gulati said.
He added that there are few things that is beyond his control. “We can’t control what happens at the 38th parallel in Korea, we can’t control what happens with embassies in Tel Aviv and we can’t control what happens with climate change accords. We do the best we can. We have the support of Washington.”
Gulati will retire his presidency of the US Soccer Federation next month, after having served as its chairman for 12 years. Howeve, Gulati will remain the chairman of the committee board of directors for the three-nation bid.
In December, Gulati said that the North American bidders are expecting Morocco to “campaign hard” in order to host the 2026 World Cup.
“We expect Morocco to put forward a very good bid […], we expect them to campaign hard,” he said.
Earlier this month, President of Morocco’s Football Federation Fouzi Lekjaa said that Morocco is ready to face the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
The bid will be based on a vote by all members of the FIFA. Lekjaa added that this could be in Morocco’s favor, “unlike previous times when only the Executive Committee had the last word on the matter.”
Lekjaa said that 104 votes for Morocco would be enough for the country to host the 2026 world tournament. In June 2018, 221 national federations will gather at a congress in Moscow to finalize eligibility decisions for the 23rd FIFA World Cup host site. The candidates’ files should meet FIFA’s technical terms, including infrastructural and commercial criteria.
Candidates will have to submit their complete candidacy files and proposals by March 16.
Morocco submitted its candidacy to host the tournament on August 11, 2017. Ahmad Ahmad, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) president, highly endorsed his nation’s bid