The United States is the frontrunner to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, but the president of UEFA (Europe’s football league) says that President Donald Trump’s “travel ban” policy may have “critically wounded” the U.S. bid. The U.S. is considering submitting a bid to host the tournament either alone or co-hosting with Mexico.
But in an interview at UEFA’s headquarters last week, Mr. Ceferin said immigration policy would be among the areas considered during the evaluation of a United States bid, and he suggested that it would “not help” if Mr. Trump succeeded in placing harsher restrictions on travel to the United States from certain countries in the near term. Though Mr. Trump’s initial 90-day ban on immigration and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries was overturned by a federal court, he has vowed to introduce a second executive order that could limit travel from those nations, at least temporarily.
“It will be part of the evaluation, and I am sure it will not help the United States to get the World Cup,” Mr. Ceferin said. “If players cannot come because of political decisions, or populist decisions, then the World Cup cannot be played there. It is true for the United States, but also for all the other countries that would like to organize a World Cup.
“It is the same for the fans, and the journalists, of course. It is the World Cup. They should be able to attend the event, whatever their nationality is. But let’s hope that it does not happen.”
Of course, this is the same governing body that saw no issue with awarding the 2022 tournament to Qatar, where there’s slavery, restrictions on LGBT persons, worker abuses, a climate unsuitable for a tournament to be played in the summer, restrictions on alcohol consumption, and many, many other things that are simply not an issue in the United States. Nobody would be forced to work to their deaths in the United States to build a stadium–namely because they’re already built. One would think this, rather than a temporary restriction on travel, would be a greater cause for concern.
UEFA, and FIFA as a whole, has no leg to stand on when criticizing the United States.