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Weah chose to fight for PSG spot over loan spell

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While USMNT youngster Timothy Weah may be just 18 years old, he has hopes of competing not just with the best players on his team, but the best players in the world.

At USMNT camp this morning, the American teenager told the media today that he made the decision himself to reject a loan spell this season in favor of staying at PSG and attempting to earn a place in the team. Sticking around at a team with Champions League title aspirations might sound daunting enough, even before considering who he’s competing with.

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Weah had a strong preseason and earned a spot in the PSG squad early in the season, and found the field enough to score his first competitive goal for the club in the 4-0 season-opening Trophee des Champions victory over Monaco. He then came off the bench to score in the regular season opener against Caen. Unfortunately, that was before the big guns came back.

As superstars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani slowly trickled back from World Cup duty and regained their fitness, Weah once again faded into the background. 31-year-old Cavani was the last to return, and once that happened, Weah was no longer even among the substitutes.

However, now that Mbappe will miss three matches due to a red card suspension, it’s possible that Weah could make a return to the matchday squad and play a part. That’s likely what Weah’s season hinges on – injuries, suspensions, and anything else that creates an opening in the otherwise logjammed attacking presence at Parc de Princes.

Aside from Neymar, Mbappe, and Cavani, Weah has to compete with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Jese, fellow PSG youth product Moussa Diaby, and now new signing Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting. That’s an absolutely star-studded squad that Weah might find it hard to crack. Nonetheless, his performances in both preseason and the beginning of competition this season may go a long way towards helping him earn Thomas Tuchel’s trust.

It will be interesting to see if Weah can find playing time with so much major competition, but even if he’s simply a bit-part player, at just 18 years old, being with that first team could provide valuable experience and go a long way towards his future development. If the opportunities don’t arise, he could always move out on loan in January.

Morocco jibes at North American cash pledges for 2026 World Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) In a FIFA election where money could be key, Morocco tried to heap doubt on North American promises of multi-billion dollar 2026 World Cup profits on Monday.

Moroccan jibes at projections from the United States-Canada-Mexico bid came when leaders of the rival campaigns met voters from five of FIFA’s six continental groups.

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“There is lots of uncertainty,” Morocco Football Federation president Fouzi Lekjaa said of the detail in North American pledges of $14.3 billion revenue for FIFA.

“That doesn’t correspond either to historical facts or future extrapolation, it’s an exercise that goes beyond that,” Lekjaa said in French.

Money will not be the only factor on the minds of up to 206 expected FIFA member federations who can vote on Wednesday in Moscow.

Still, a FIFA-appointed panel assessing the two candidates already noted the “significantly higher” number than Morocco’s projected income of $7.2 billion for football’s governing body from a 48-team tournament.

Morocco’s counterattack is that $5 billion pure profit for FIFA would be a World Cup record.

“We do not blush when we propose that,” Morocco tourism minister Lamia Boutaleb said in an impassioned speech to 53 African voters in a Moscow hotel conference center.

The Moroccan bid team took to the stage at a Confederation for African Football (CAF) meeting minutes after the North Americans presented their plan to what shaped as its most hostile audience of the day.

“We have shown the best we have to offer to all the FIFA members,” Decio de Maria, the Mexico federation president, said.

Though the American team was met with just polite applause, and no follow-up questions, it still hopes for African votes on Wednesday.

Liberia, Namibia, and Zimbabwe pledged support before arriving in Russia, and the North Americans have targeted voters in the southern African group known as COSAFA.

It was perhaps telling that CAF President Ahmad stressed the need to “show cohesion within our continent” in a contest where FIFA will publish each member’s choice soon after the ballot.

“There is an obligation to remain within our family,” the Madagascar official said “But of course it is an individual choice.”

The African meeting began with Ahmad announcing his first vice president, Kwesi Nyantakyi, resigned from CAF and FIFA’s ruling council while facing a corruption investigation in his native Ghana.

A television documentary last week showed Nyantakyi taking $65,000 in cash from undercover reporters posing as businessmen to secure favor with Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo and other government officials.

Ghana can vote on Wednesday, though Moroccan attempts to pressure FIFA into acting against four American territories seem sure to fail.

FIFA election rules suggested American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands could be barred from voting by a potential conflict of interest.

“Our voting delegate has a New Zealand passport,” American Samoan official Sandra Fruean, a FIFA Council member, told The Associated Press.

The last-minute lobbying continues on Tuesday morning at another central Moscow hotel, where the rival bid teams make presentations to 54 European voters.

Report: France expected to vote against U.S. in 2026 bid

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What once seemed like a certainty is now once again proving to be a nightmare for the United States, as the country’s United bid took a major hit on Thursday.

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L’Equipe spoke with French football president Noel Le Graet, who has stated that France will vote in favor of Morocco ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, leaving the United bid of the United States, Mexico and Canada with another major setback in its plans to host the tournament.

“I don’t see myself not supporting a country that is close to us,” Le Graet said. “Africa has only had one World Cup. That’s not a lot.

“Morocco is ready, even if they don’t have the same means as their fellow contenders. France only has one vote, but perhaps we will give momentum in Europe to choose Morocco.”

Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that two CONCACAF nations — Dominica and Saint Lucia — would also vote for Morocco, going against their fellow North and Central American allies.

The United bid looked a strong favorite to host in 2026 when it was first announced, particularly given the United States’ success hosting the World Cup back in 1994, however, recently the attention has shifted to Morocco, with the country receiving significant support from not only African nations but also Asia and South America, too.

In the voting process for the 2022 World Cup, the U.S. was faced with a similar task in trying to obtain hosting rights. The CONCACAF nation ultimately lost out on hosting to Qatar, despite major links to voter corruption.

Voting for the 2026 World Cup will take place in Russia on June 13, the day before this summer’s tournament takes place.

Morocco touts gun safety in 2026 World Cup bid against U.S.

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Morocco has touted its limited threat from gun crime in a 2026 World Cup bidding proposal to take on the United States-led rival for the soccer showpiece.

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The north African nation highlights safety for visiting fans in bidding documents published by FIFA on Monday that do however show every stadium and training ground requires building work.

By contrast, the North American bid book says it is the low-risk proposition for FIFA since no infrastructure will be built for the first World Cup after the jump from 32 to 48 finalists.

Morocco’s decision to point to “very low gun circulation” comes amidst the growing call for stricter laws regarding firearms in the U.S. following a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead.

The U.S. is the dominant partner in a North American bid that includes Canada and Mexico.

2026 World Cup bid reveals 23-city list across Canada, Mexico, U.S.

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The United Bid group announced 23 cities as finalists to host matches should the United States, Canada, and Mexico defeat Morocco and win the right to host the 2026 World Cup.

Chicago and Vancouver were reported as departing the bid earlier Thursday.

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Seventeen of the 23 cities are in the United States: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nasvhille, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, Washington, D.C.

Mexico has put up three sites: Guadalajara, Mexico City, and Monterrey, while Canada still has a trio after Vancouver’s exit: Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton in the running.

Here’s the sales pitch (which is pretty appealing):

“Canada, Mexico, and the United States have joined together to deliver a United Bid that offers FIFA and its member associations the power of unity, the promise of certainty, and the potential of extraordinary opportunity,” said John Kristick, Executive Director of the United Bid. “We are confident that the combination of our 23 existing world-class stadiums, 150 existing elite training facilities, and our modern and interconnected transportation network can help FIFA to achieve new records for attendance and revenue, which will allow the entire global football community to improve and grow.”