In an interview with CNN, the Saudi official said that though his country has not voiced its official stance on the bids, Saudi Arabia is looking out for its interests first.
Commending the North American bid, Al-Sheikh said that the US “is our biggest and strongest ally,” adding that the 1994 World Cup in the US “was one of our favorites; the fans were numerous and the Saudi team had achieved good results.”
Al-Sheikh made it clear during his interview with Beki Anderson that Saudi Arabia’s vote will likely go to its “strongest” ally.
When Beki asked him directly if he was referring to supporting the North American bid, Al-Sheikh answered: “You are intelligent Beki. You can read between the lines.”
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Al-Sheikh’s stance on the Moroccan bid has been clear from the get-go. The Saudi official recently posted several tweets implying that his country would vote for the bid that will serve its interests first.
From these messages, it is clear that Morocco’s neutrality in the Gulf crisis between the Saudi Arabia coalition and Qatar incensed the Saudi official.
In one tweet, Al-Sheikh wrote that “Some people went astray. If you want our support, you should seek it in Riyadh. What you are doing is wasting your time. Now ask the pseudo-state to help you,” referring to Qatar.
In another interview with Saudi-based sports news platform Arriyadiyah in March, Al-Sheikh said that friendship has been “very detrimental to the Saudis.” He added that what really matters now to him is that “the 2026 World Cup needs to be hosted in the best conditions.”
Saudi Arabia’s implied support of the US bid is likely tied to US President Donald Trump’s own recent tweets bullying nations for support just weeks before the vote scheduled to take place on June 13, in Moscow.
In his tweet, Trump wrote that it “would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the US bid.”
The effect of the tweet is already shifting opinions. On May 3, the South African Football Federation denied its previous support of the Moroccan bid, deleting an early statement in April that had promised Morocco its vote.