Report: North America could lose 2026 World Cup to Morocco, in part due to Donald Trump

A three-country bid by Canada, Mexico, and the United States for the 2026 World Cup could be in jeopardy. The North American bid, long seen as the favorite, could lose to Morocco.

FIFA is no stranger to controversial World Cup hosts. Russia will host this year’s World Cup, and Qatar, which doesn’t exactly have the climate to support a summer soccer tournament and is building much of its infrastructure with forced labor, will host in 2022.

Related: Inside this year's World Cup draw: 

12 PHOTOS
Inside the 2018 World Cup draw
See Gallery
Inside the 2018 World Cup draw
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 1, 2017: Draw assistant, Russian Football Union Vice President Nikita Simonyan holds a slip reading Russia at the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the State Kremlin Palace. Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS (Photo by Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images)
A boy plays with the official ball Telstar 18 at the end of the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament final draw at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on December 1, 2017. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018 in 11 Russian cities. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA DECEMBER 1, 2017: FIFA President Gianni Infantino (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend the Final Draw for 2018 FIFA World Cup at the State Kremlin Palace. Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 01: Russian President Vladimir Putin (left), former Russian football player Nikita Simonyan (center) and Brazil football player Pele (right) before the draw ceremony on December 1, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Dmitry Azarov/Kommersant via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 1, 2017: Retired Brazilian football star Pele ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup final draw at the State Kremlin Palace. Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky\TASS via Getty Images)
National team coaches pose on stage after the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on December 1, 2017. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held from June 14 and July 15, 2018, in 11 Russian cities. / AFP PHOTO / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture shows the pots ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament final draw at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on December 1, 2017. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018 in 11 Russian cities. / AFP PHOTO / Yuri KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 01: The final draw of FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 in the Concert Hall of Kremlin Palace on December 1, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Dmitry Lebedev/Kommersant via Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) toasts with football legends, draw assistants and other attendees ahead of the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on December 01, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SPUTNIK / Alexey NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEY NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 01: A general view during the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia at the State Kremlin Palace on December 1, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Russian singer Alsou performs during the 2018 FIFA World Cup football tournament final draw at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow on December 1, 2017. The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be held between June 14 and July 15, 2018 in 11 Russian cities. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 01: The World Cup trophy is seen during the Final Draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia at the State Kremlin Palace on December 1, 2017 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

North America has plenty of infrastructure, the appropriate climate, and existing World Cup-ready stadiums all over the continent. Giving the 2026 bid to the three-country group seemed like the most logical choice.

And yet, according to a new report by ESPN, there is a very real chance that North America loses out on its bid to Morocco. From Sam Borden:

Support for the United States-led bid to host the 2026 World Cup is more divided than most predicted, with some estimates of voting totals having Morocco not just threatening the North American bid but actually beating it, multiple high-ranking football executives within FIFA and the continental confederations told ESPN this week.

[…]

The trickier question for the North American bid is actually something remarkably basic: At this particular moment in time, does the world want to give something nice to the United States?

There are a few issues for the United States here. One, which Borden touches on, is the United States-led investigation into widespread FIFA corruption. That led to the ouster of longtime president Sepp Blatter in 2015. He is unsurprisingly supporting the Moroccan bid.

Another mark against North America’s 2026 World Cup bid is not sports-centric, but could be just as impactful: policies enacted by President Donald Trump’s administration.

According to Borden, Morocco is expected to have the support of much of Africa, Asia, and South America. That could get its bid over the goal line.

One official who is in regular contact with all of the continental confederations estimated that Morocco has the support of much of Asia and South America, as well as its home continent of Africa, which would put it over the 104 votes needed. All four bid nations cannot vote while the Guatemalan federation is currently suspended.

Trump’s policies are specifically cited as one reason why the North American bid could fail. It should be noted that even if Trump wins reelection in 2020, he would be out of office by the time this World Cup rolls around.

More recently, however, the North American bid has had to counter an anti-American sentiment that stems largely from actions taken by President Donald Trump’s administration, multiple sources said. Those actions include a travel ban affecting mostly Arab countries, public comments that perpetuate stereotypes and the reported use of profanity in describing poorer countries.

When North American bid officials visit with federation officials in a foreign country, they rarely get questions about stadiums or hotels, according to sources; rather, they have been quizzed about whether the United States can be considered a friendly place for foreigners.

The United States last hosted the men’s World Cup in 1994. Missing out on 2026 after having what looked like a slam-dunk bid would be a huge blow to American soccer.

Related: Trump attends college football title game: 

10 PHOTOS
Donald Trump attends college football title game
See Gallery
Donald Trump attends college football title game
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: United States President Donald Trump walks onto the field prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs on January 8, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; President Donald Trump walks onto the field before the 2018 CFP national championship college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
U.S. President Donald Trump sings along with the national anthem before the NCAA College Football Playoff Championship game between Alabama and Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives with ROTC students to participate in the national anthem before the NCAA College Football Playoff Championship game between Alabama and Georgia in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Jan 8, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; President Donald Trump waves during the first quarter of the 2018 CFP national championship college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, and his wife Stephanie, during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump talks to Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, and his wife Stephanie, during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump sits with the United States Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, during the game between the Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: U.S. President Donald Trump points to fans prior to the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump sits in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on January 8, 2018. Trump is attending the College Football Playoff National Championship between the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

[ESPN]

The post Report: North America Could Lose 2026 World Cup To Morocco, In Part Due To Donald Trump appeared first on The Spun.

Read Full Story