The international soccer federation, or FIFA, says it may deny a joint United States/Canada/Mexico bid to host the 2026 World Cup tournament because some of FIFA don't like Donald Trump, ESPN reports.
Sources close to members of the FIFA Congress, which meets next month to award the 2026 event, told the sports network that "the North American bid has had to counter an anti-American sentiment that stems largely from actions taken by President Donald Trump’s administration."
Those objections, ESPN notes, have come largely from nations affected by Donald Trump's temporary travel ban — who also happen to be, largely, state sponsors of terror organizations — and those nations whom Trump allegedly referred to as "sh**holes."
But while left-leaning outlets like Deadspin crowed about the rumor as if anyone in the United States is waiting with bated breath to find out if we'll host an international tournament few of us will attend or even understand, FIFA's Trump-related excuse for bypassing a North American World Cup in favor of, say, a Moroccan World Cup, seems flimsy.
First of all, while Donald Trump might not be everyone's cup of tea, his "great crimes" — levying a temporary hold on tourist visas from 11 nations, and allegedly using a swear world in a private meeting — pale in comparison to the alleged crimes committed by, say, 2022 host nation, Qatar.
A report on the Qatari World Cup construction effort from the International Trade Union Confederation alleged that thousands of migrant workers were mistreated and even killed while building Qatar's World Cup stadium. The same report also suggests that Qatar is using a "guest worker" system that is akin to slavery, using indentured servants sent from other countries, like North Korea, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, who are stripped of their passports and forced to toil in horrific conditions.
If FIFA will tolerate slavery, why can't it tolerate a tough American foreign policy?
The answer is simple: FIFA's issues with the United States don't stem from Donald Trump, he's merely a convenient excuse. They're really angry about the American Department of Justice, which indicted more than two dozen of FIFA's top officials for bribery, racketeering, and corruption — a conspiracy that originated with FIFA's decision to award the 2018 World Cup to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to — yes — Qatar.
Several of FIFA's prominent South American officials were eventually convicted. By the time the dust cleared, some of FIFA's top brass were accused of schemes involving more than $200 million in cash and prizes, bribes, and kickbacks.
FIFA cleaned out its administration and elected a new president, but many still insist that those FIFA bureaucrats targeted by the FBI were innocent, and that the U.S. created a grand conspiracy. Even with major accusations of corruption swirling around both tournaments, FIFA refused to penalize either Qatar or Russia by stripping them of their World Cup events.
So it's not exactly surprising FIFA would be less than thrilled with the United States. Worse still, there are still some FBI warrants outstanding, so if North America was awarded the 2026 World Cup, some remaining FIFA officials would have to negotiate terms with the Justice Department, stay home, or risk arrest by attending their own events.