US President’s controversial travel ban could make it impossible for his country to host the 2026 World Cup, Fifa president, Gianni Infantino warned yesterday.
The US is the favourite to host the expanded 48-team tournament in 2026, either on its own or as part of a joint-bid with neighbours Mexico and Canada.
But with Trump seeking to ban nationals from several Muslim-majority countries, Infantino says the US may not even be in a position to submit a bid.
“Mr Trump is the president of the US and, as such, of course (I have) huge respect for what he does,” Infantino said.
“He’s in charge, together with his government, to take decisions that are best for his country. That’s why he has been elected.
“We are now in the process of defining the bid requirements. In the world there are many countries who have bans, travel bans, visa requirements and so on.
“It’s obvious, when it comes to Fifa competitions, that any team, including supporters and officials, that qualifies for a World Cup needs access to the country, or else there is no World Cup.
“That is obvious. The requirements will be clear. And then each country can make their decision – whether they want to bid or not, based on the requirements.”
Infantino’s comments echoed recent remarks by Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, who said the World Cup “cannot be played” in a country that had extensive travel restrictions.
Infantino also expressed hope that a dispute with the Argentine Football Association (AFA) would soon be resolved.
Fifa has warned the AFA that it could be suspended if it does not agree to allow South America’s governing football body (Conmebol) to vet all the candidates in its soon-to-be-held presidential election.