World Cup bid: U.S. assures FIFA on travel discrimination fear


Jules Rimet Trophy. (Pavel Golovkin, File/AP)

The Trump administration has guaranteed to FIFA there will be no discrimination around entry to the United States at a World Cup in 2026.

The North American bid has faced questions about the impact of attempts by U.S. President Donald Trump to implement a ban on travel to the U.S. by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

An independent human rights report commissioned by the bid warned there could be "some potential discrimination in relation to travel restrictions for some citizens from certain states."

The report was submitted to FIFA in March as part of bidding requirements but the U.S has offered fresh assurances to world football’s governing body around the bearing of immigration policies on the World Cup.

"All eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination," the U.S. government told FIFA in a letter last week.

The letter was to be cited in a speech in Brussels on Tuesday by Mexico Football Federation President Decio de Maria during an appearance with his U.S. and Canadian counterparts. The three countries are jointly bidding to take on Morocco in the June 13 vote by the FIFA Congress.

"Our three governments have provided the strong guarantees we need, including so that entry will be safe, reliable and convenient for every player and every fan," De Maria told the International Sports Press Association Congress.

"Just as it did for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the United States government has stated that it intends to issue visas, subject to U.S. law ‘without regard to race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion.or sexual orientation,"’ De Maria added.

Up to 207 nations will vote on the 2026 host and the North American bid’s financial pitch against the Moroccan challenge.

Morocco has to spend $15.8 billion on construction projects to prepare the country for what would be its first World Cup, including $3 billion to build or renovate every stadium or training facility.

No significant additional infrastructure must be built in North American for the World Cup, while the bid now forecasts the tournament would generate a $14 billion in revenue for FIFA on produce a record profit of $11 billion. FIFA generated $5.7 billion in revenue in the four-year 2014 World Cup cycle.

"If the question on June 13 is which bid can deliver the most success to help sustain FIFA and programs like FIFA Forward help member associations achieve their highest potential … we firmly believe that our United Bid is best positioned to deliver that success," U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro said.


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