The President of the United States took to Twitter to announce his support for the so-called “United Bid” to host the 2026 World Cup, a three-way effort led by the U.S. with a bit of PR and minor logistic assistance from Mexico and Canada.
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)?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2018
There’s a lot to take in from that 51-world statement that opens the door to much analysis on so many levels and – obviously not for the first time – questions whether Trump or anyone close to him has any idea about what exactly is going on.
Two things are most significant here. The first:
France, aka the French Football Federation, has publicly announced its 100 percent support of Morocco’s bid for 2026, the only rival to the U.S./Mexico/Canada bid. France is NOT voting for the United2026 bid.
Michel Platini, the French former FIFA Executive Committee member in 2010, was apparently “encouraged” to vote for Qatar’s bid for 2022 by Nicolas Sarkozy, the-then President of France. These things do not happen in isolation.
Second: FIFA explicitly forbids what it calls “political interference” in the relationship between governments and football federations. The reasoning behind this is that it stops dictatorial governments from co-opting sport (ie, football) for its own purposes (yes,yes, of course, but the rule still exists even if it is flouted).
As the Los Angeles Times stated: “It is unknown what prompted Trump’s tweet on the matter.”