The United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup, overwhelmingly winning a vote by soccer’s world governing body on Wednesday (June 13), even though U.S. President Donald Trump has frayed relations with his neighbors and others during his 18 months in office.
Trump, who has called for a wall to be built on the U.S. southern border and paid for by Mexico as part of a tougher immigration policy, just days ago personally criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a trade dispute.
U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro suggested to reporters on a conference call after Wednesday’s vote at FIFA’s Congress in Moscow that bringing the three countries together was more of a challenge than any Trump effect in overcoming the challenge from the competing bid from Morocco.
The North Americans pledged their tournament would generate an $11 billion profit for FIFA – greater than any previous World Cup finals – a financial shot in the arm for world soccer’s governing body, which has been rocked by a corruption and bribery scandal ensnaring top officials.
Morocco, which has now failed in five bids to host the World Cup, said their tournament would make $5 billion.
Trump praised the outcome on Twitter as the result of “a great deal of hard work.” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted “We did it!” and Trudeau also took to Twitter to say: “Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on this bid – it’s going to be a great tournament!”
Under Trump, relations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico have plumbed new lows thanks to disputes in the renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, a $1.1 trillion trade pact that ties the three countries’ economies together and which Trump has said should be scrapped.
Although it will be the first World Cup to be hosted by three countries, most matches will be played in the United States. As part of the bid, Trump pledged that those traveling to the United States for the tournament would not be subject to stringent visa restrictions.
Even if Trump were to be elected for a second four-year term in 2020 he would not be president when the World Cup kicks off in 2026. — Reuters