Saturday, 20 October, 2018

World Cup Returning to US After North American Bid Beats Morocco

Robbie Williams is excited to be performing at the World Cup opening ceremony Robbie Williams is excited to be performing at the World Cup opening ceremony
Rita Gibson | 13 June, 2018, 23:19

The 2026 tournament will be the biggest World Cup ever with 48 teams playing 80 matches over 34 days.

On Wednesday in Moscow, the trio bid of the United States, Mexico and Canada beat Morocco in a vote to earn the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup.

At the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday, North America's bid tallied 134 votes, while Morocco got 65.

Under Trump, relations between the United States, Canada and Mexico have plumbed new lows thanks to disputes in the renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, a $1.1 trillion trade pact that ties the three countries' economies together and which Trump has said should be scrapped.

Before the joint bid was conceived, FIFA President Gianni Infantino warned that Trump's efforts to ban immigrants and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries could derail American efforts to host the World Cup, and there had been speculation that the president's subsequent actions ― including his rhetoric about immigrants from Latin American countries and his belittling of African nations and Haiti as "shithole countries" ― could cost the North American bid crucial votes. The country hosted in 1970, but it also hosted in 1986 after it was originally awarded to Colombia, who couldn't host for economic reasons.

Bid leaders were anxious the Federation Internationale de Football Association vote could essentially become a referendum on Trump.

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A US bid at the time failed to win enough votes.

Perhaps US President Donald Trump's tweet in April stating, "It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against against the U.S bid". Mexico has played in every World Cup since 1990. More than 5.8 million tickets are expected to be sold, generating over $2 billion in ticketing revenue, according to the winning bid's projections. American soccer officials downplayed the influence of politics on the bid. Morocco had said it would need to spend $16 billion on infrastructure for the competition, including on 14 stadiums, whereas only six of North American stadiums need refurbishment. Canada staged the Women's World Cup in 2015.

Soccer is Mexico's national sport, but is still considered a niche sport in the United States and Canada. "The merits of the bid, we feel we have a compelling proposal". "We are all united in football". "I would love to see a Team USA-Mexico match".

Collectively, the three countries have 17 stadiums which would require no extra work to make them World Cup-ready. Trudeau responded by saying that Canadians would "not be pushed around". The United States and Canada did not qualify. Thus far, cities in contention to host are New York/New Jersey, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Nashville, Orlando, San Francisco/San Jose, and Cincinnati.

The games will be played in 16 cities.

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