Washington, Apr 10 (AP) The United States launched its bid to co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and Canada today after gaining the support of President Donald Trump amid regional political tensions.
Trump derided Mexico as a source of rapists and criminals in his campaign and has vowed to build an impenetrable wall on the southern border.
US Soccer President Sunil Gulati was asked about the impact of Trump’s policy toward Mexicans as he presented the bid alongside his counterparts from Mexico and Canada.
“We have very specifically addressed this with the president,” Gulati said of the Trump controversies.
“He is fully supportive of the joint bid, encouraged the joint bid, and is especially pleased with the fact Mexico is participating in the joint bid.”
The North American nations are seeking to bring the World Cup back to the region for the first time since 1994 when the US was the sole host.
“We don’t believe sport can solve all the issues in the world but, especially with what’s going on in the world today, we believe this is a hugely positive signal and symbol of what we can do together in unifying people, especially in our three countries,” Gulati said.
The proposal for the first World Cup with the field expanded from 32 to 48 teams is that the US hosts all the games from the quarterfinals.
The US would get 60 games while Mexico and Canada would have 10 each.
No rival bid has emerged for the 2026 tournament, which is due to be awarded by FIFA in 2020.
FIFA rules currently rule out bidders from Europe and Asia because Russia is staging the World Cup in 2018 and Qatar has the showpiece in 2022. (AP)
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.