They say football should not be mixed with politics, but U.S. President; Donald Trump has since April, thrown both in a blender for a good mix. A decision will be made today in Moscow on which country/countries will host the 2026 World Cup.
Trump's pronouncement on cutting support to countries that the U.S. normally helps, but who then back other countries, put FIFA in a quandary. The two bids that would be voted on today are the USA/Canada/Mexico joint bid versus that of Morocco.
In April, on the occasion of a visit from Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr Trump said, "I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world, that we also will be supporting you and that they will likewise support us in our bid, along with Canada and Mexico, for the 2026 World Cup."
Mr Trump then stylishly added this threat, "We will be watching very closely, and any help they can give us in that bid we would appreciate."
Before this, he had written on Twitter, "The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don't support us (including at the United Nations)?"
FIFA, in a release, said, "As a general rule, we cannot comment on specific statements in connection with the bidding process. We can only refer to the Fifa regulations for the selection of the venue for the final competition of the 2026 Fifa World Cup, and in particular to the bid rules of conduct incorporated therein."
Morocco, with this fifth bid to host the World Cup, is not sure of securing all the African votes en-bloc. Liberia has revealed they will be voting for the US-led bid and there are concerns for Nigeria's vote because of Mr Trump's pronouncement.
Ghana is absent In light of the recent upheaval in their football federation, which means there will be 206 federations present to vote in FIFA's 68th Congress, which was ongoing at the time of this report.