Speaking of the United States’ bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada, U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati noted that President Donald Trump is “fully supportive” of the effort.
The comment comes after the soccer federations of the United States, Mexico, and Canada announced a joint bid to host the upcoming World Cup, USA Today reported.
During Monday’s joint press conference, Gulati addressed the question of how the Mexican soccer officials could work with their U.S. counterparts after last year’s contentious election.
“We have the full support of the United States government in this project,” Gulati said during the presser.
“The president of the United States is fully supportive and encouraged us in having this joint bid. He is especially pleased that Mexico is part of this bid, and that’s in the last few days that we have gotten further encouragement on that,” the U.S. soccer chief continued.
“We’re not at all concerned about some of the issues that other people may raise,” Gulati added. “We looked at bidding alone, and again, decided we wanted to bid with our partners in North America, and we have a strong encouragement from President Trump to that very end.”
For his part, Decio de María, president of the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol and CONCACAF vice president, agreed that the World Cup is about soccer, not politics.
“I believe, like Sunil said, this is not a forum to talk about politics, it’s a forum to talk about soccer,” de María said. “What I am certain of is that both countries will work tirelessly to build many soccer fields, so that the ball keeps rolling and so that our respective communities can enjoy the benefits that soccer creates.”
Certainly the issue of immigration featured prominently in Trump’s campaign and subsequent election to the White House. But, the three soccer heads assured the media that the issue would not be part of the World Cup.
“That us three are standing here as presidents of the federations of the countries that took in our families is a very strong statement,” Victor Montagliani, president of the Canadian Soccer Association and president of CONCACAF, said during the conference. “And it’s something that I’m very proud of.”
Speaking in Spanish, de María added that, “the real winners are soccer and the region to have invited the world to enjoy this celebration. I think that’s how you create a beautiful story.”
The vote on where the 2026 World Cup will end up occurs in 2020, as President Trump’s current term in office winds down, though the game itself would be held during another president’s term, regardless.
According to the plan worked out between the three countries, the U.S. would get 60 of the 80 games and Mexico and Canada would host ten each.
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