President Donald Trump tweeted in support of the US-led 2026 World Cup bid on Thursday, while also seemingly threatening nations that didn’t throw their support behind the effort.
The United States is leading a joint bid with Mexico and Canada to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to North America, a bid that would be the first successful multi-nation host arrangement for the tournament.
“The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup,” Trump tweeted. “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)?”
Morocco Competing Against North American Bid
Trump did not provide clarification or a follow-up that identified any of the countries he may have been referring to. FIFA is only considering two bids: the joint North American effort, and a solo hosting bid from Morocco.
The US-led effort appeared to be a strong favorite throughout most of the selection process. The North American nations have strong existing infrastructure for hosting a massive soccer tournament, and the United States may be seen as a country who is “due” to host, especially after narrowing losing out to Qatar in the race for the 2022 World Cup.
But a February report by Sam Borden of ESPN suggested that the race wasn’t nearly as wrapped up as it seemed. Logistically, there are advantages to having the entire tournament in one country. But the larger issue may be Trump himself, a controversial figure who might cost the bid some votes because of his statements and foreign policy decisions, including a travel ban that mainly impacted Arab nations.
According to Borden’s report, Morocco has significant support in Africa, Asia, and South America. That could make the race – in which every member federation has a single vote – a lot closer than expected, even if the North American bid still has the advantage. Russia, France, and Belgium are also among the nations that have pledged their support to Morocco.
Trump Tweet Could Violate FIFA Ethics Rules
Trump’s tweet could be an additional problem for the effort. FIFA’s code of ethics strictly prohibits government interference in national soccer federations, a rule that aims to separate the sport from political influence.
FIFA released a statement to Reuters, saying that they could not comment on any specifics related to 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,” the statement read.
Those rules include a prohibition that stops anyone affiliated with a bid from making statements “in relation to the bids of other member associations that expressed their interest in submitting to FIFA a bid to host the final competition of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”
FIFA will decide on a host for the 2026 World Cup at a June 13 meeting in Moscow.