The U.S. President warned nations not to lobby against the nation in their World Cup bid last week and he appeared to reaffirm that stance Monday
President Donald Trump said the United States will be “watching very closely” as he called for African nations and countries around the world to support USA’s joint 2026 World Cup bid.
Trump has been vocal amid a bid put together by USA, Canada and Mexico to stage the showpiece tournament in North America in eight years’ time.
The controversial U.S. president warned nations not to lobby against the USA in a tweet last week, with Morocco the rival bid ahead of FIFA’s announcement in Moscow on June 13.
And Trump appeared to reaffirm that stance as he met with Nigeria president Muhammadu Buhari at the White House on Monday.
“I hope all African countries and countries throughout the world, that we also will be supporting you and that they will likewise support us in our bid, along with Canada and Mexico, for the 2026 World Cup,” Trump said.
“We will be watching very closely, and any help they can give us in that bid we would appreciate.”
USA, who failed to qualify for Russia 2018, last hosted the World Cup in 1994. The three-nation bid was expected to win for months, but Morocco has recently received an upswing of support that has made the outcome uncertain.
Trump-led immigration policy have been speculated as part of the cause for the three-nation bid losing support, though the South American confederation CONMEBOL recently promised support for the North Americans.
FIFA regulations restrict government interference in each nation’s sport governing bodies. Members can be suspended if they are seen as having violated those protocols by exerting pressure on their federations.