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Solo: 2026 World Cup shouldn’t go to U.S.

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If you thought the U.S. Soccer presidential election was the last time you’d hear Hope Solo rail against the national federation, you’d be mistaken.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Solo said that she was not supporting the United 2026 bid to host the 2026 World Cup in Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

“I can’t say it should be awarded to Morocco,” Solo said. “But I don’t think it should go to the United States, and that’s hard to say.”

In the past, Solo has spoken out against U.S. Soccer’s tight relationship with the MLS marketing arm Soccer United Marketing (SUM), which presents a number of conflicts of interest when considering the growth of the game across the U.S., and not just in MLS. Solo particularly identified SUM and Don Garber as having a role in her decision not to support the United Bid.

Solo is so far the only notable former or current American soccer player to come out against the U.S. World Cup bid. FIFA member nations will vote on the 2026 World Cup on June 13 at the FIFA Congress in Moscow, Russia.

David Beckham, co-owner of MLS’ new Miami franchise, came out in favor of the bid on Thursday.

World Cup bid: US assures FIFA on travel discrimination fear

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The Trump administration has guaranteed to FIFA there will be no discrimination around entry to the United States at a World Cup in 2026.

The North American bid has faced questions about the impact of attempts by U.S. President Donald Trump to implement a ban on travel to the U.S. by residents of six majority-Muslim countries.

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An independent human rights report commissioned by the bid warned there could be “some potential discrimination in relation to travel restrictions for some citizens from certain states.”

The report was submitted to FIFA in March as part of bidding requirements but the U.S has offered fresh assurances to world football’s governing body around the bearing of immigration policies on the World Cup.

“All eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination,” the U.S. government told FIFA in a letter last week.

The letter was to be cited in a speech in Brussels on Tuesday by Mexico Football Federation President Decio de Maria during an appearance with his U.S. and Canadian counterparts. The three countries are jointly bidding to take on Morocco in the June 13 vote by the FIFA Congress.

“Our three governments have provided the strong guarantees we need, including so that entry will be safe, reliable and convenient for every player and every fan,” De Maria told the International Sports Press Association Congress.

“Just as it did for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the United States government has stated that it intends to issue visas, subject to U.S. law `without regard to race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion.or sexual orientation,”‘ De Maria added.

Up to 207 nations will vote on the 2026 host and the North American bid’s financial pitch against the Moroccan challenge.

Morocco has to spend $15.8 billion on construction projects to prepare the country for what would be its first World Cup, including $3 billion to build or renovate every stadium or training facility.

No significant additional infrastructure must be built in North American for the World Cup, while the bid now forecasts the tournament would generate a $14 billion in revenue for FIFA on produce a record profit of $11 billion. FIFA generated $5.7 billion in revenue in the four-year 2014 World Cup cycle.

“If the question on June 13 is which bid can deliver the most success to help sustain FIFA and programs like FIFA Forward help member associations achieve their highest potential … we firmly believe that our United Bid is best positioned to deliver that success,” U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro said.

Joint World Cup bidders: Trump hasn’t sparked voter concerns

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Organizers of the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup insist FIFA members have not expressed concern about President Donald Trump’s harsh words about foreigners or the U.S. Justice Department prosecuting corrupt soccer officials.

[ MORE: Digging into the latest USMNT roster ]

“Look, this is not geopolitics,” new U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro said Monday during a conference call. “We’re talking about football and what fundamentally at the end of the day, what’s the best interests of football and our footballing community, and we’ve had no backlash. We’re very focused on the merits of our bid.”

A joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada was submitted to FIFA on Friday along with a proposal by Morocco. The 207 other members of the international soccer governing body will vote on June 13 in Moscow.

Cordeiro, Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria and Canadian Soccer Association President Steven Reed spoke from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they were meeting with members of the Association of South East Asian Nations, a subset of the Asian Football Confederation.

A solo bid by the U.S. for the 2022 World Cup was favored going into the 2010 vote but lost to Qatar. FIFA then changed the vote rules to give the decision back to the entire membership, which chose hosts prior to 1986, when the choice started being made by the roughly two dozen members of its executive committee.

“We believe that the member associations are going to judge us on the quality of the bids, on the merits of our bid, and that’s it,” Reed said. “We’re very confident about what we’re putting forward, and I don’t think that we’re concerned about politics.”

Sixty games would be played in the U.S. under the bid plan, including all from the quarterfinals on. Three cities were included from Mexico and Canada, and both of those nations would host 10 games.

Holding a tournament in the U.S. would subject many of the documents generated to subpoena by U.S. federal prosecutors, who have secured numerous guilty pleas to corruption charges from soccer officials since 2015 and obtained convictions at trial last year against Juan Angel Napout, the former president of South American soccer’s governing body, and Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil’s soccer federation.

“We haven’t had any of those concerns raised by any of the members that we’ve met so far,” Cordeiro said. “The reforms that FIFA undertook some years ago I think were spot on and we feel very confident that ultimately the right decision will be made.”

Morocco’s bid envisions spending almost $16 billion, including $3 billion to construct nine new stadiums, refurbish five others and build or renovate 130 training grounds.

[ MORE: Brazil to face Austria in final World Cup tune-up match ]

The North American bid proposed venues be selected from among 23 stadiums that exist or already are under construction, including three each in Mexico and Canada. Sixteen of the U.S. stadiums are sites of NFL teams.

“The split of matches that we have proposed to FIFA frankly reflects the resources of the three countries,” Cordeiro said. “We in the United States are blessed with some very substantial resources in terms of stadium infrastructure, of cities and so on, and that reflects the 60 matches that we have on the table. But at the end of the day there is a reason why FIFA have asked for or have encouraged joint bids and we do think that our joint bids taken together provide for a vastly superior bid than our competition.”

AP Sports Writer Rob Harris contributed to this report.

Report: U.S. 2026 World Cup bid no longer overwhelming favorite

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The United States, Mexico and Canada may very well host the 2026 World Cup. But it’s not as much of a lock as it was when the bid was first officially announced.

According to reporting by ESPN’s Sam Borden, a number of factors on and off the field has led to Morocco’s bid catching up to the U.S.-led bid for the 2026 World Cup, just a few months ahead of the vote on who will host the World Cup. The reporting states that some believe Morocco’s World Cup bid has the backing of all of Africa, South America and much of Asia, which would put it over the 104-vote threshold needed for a simple majority win.

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Other sources in the reporting state that the U.S.-led bid with Canada and Mexico is still the favorite, but the margin of victory will be much lower come the World Cup vote in June. FIFA’s entire member body of 211 nations – not including the four bidding nations and suspended Guatemala – are expected to vote at the FIFA Congress from June 12-13 in Moscow, Russia.

The U.S. missing out on the 2018 World Cup may not have helped its case, but it’s really the work of the U.S. Justice Department as well as comments by U.S. President Donald Trump that have reportedly changed the perception of a shoe-in World Cup in the USA.

Many in South America’s CONMEBOL are reportedly upset about the FBI investigation and Justice Department court cases against the former corrupt bosses of South American soccer, turning the organization upside down, while others have reportedly not taken too kindly to Trump’s travel ban of mostly Arab nations as well as some of his comments about other countries in the Caribbean and Africa.

The report states the USA-Mexico-Canada World Cup bid is going out of its way to stress the unity between the three nations when politicking with FIFA member nation executives to try and earn their votes.

It would be shocking for the U.S. to lose the bid for the 2026 World Cup, especially as the World Cup is being expanded to 48 teams and the U.S. is one of the few nations that can easily support that, but per the latest geo-political events, the vote could be closer than we had ever imagined it. Hopefully, it doesn’t come down to the last vote to know who will host the 2026 World Cup.

UEFA reluctantly support World Cup expansion; Germany, Spain hit out

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There is plenty of fallout from the decision to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 teams.

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With a unanimous vote cast in favor of adding 16 extra teams for the tournament, which the U.S. is the overwhelming favorites to host, its seems like everyone is on board.

Not so much.

As well as the German FA speaking out against expansion, word is now coming out of La Liga that the Spanish top-flight plans legal action against FIFA to overturn the decision on expansion.

La Liga claims that FIFA never consulted Europe’s leagues on the expansion plans which will now see plenty more players called on for international duty.

As for European soccer’s governing body UEFA, they were the only confederation who had spoken out against expanding the World Cup beyond its current 32-team format before the FIFA Council meeting which ratified the changes on Jan. 10.

UEFA voted in favor of having a 48-team World Cup but has released the following statement following the talks in Zurich.

“During the FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, it was clear that all other confederations were overwhelmingly in favor of expanding the FIFA World Cup to 48 teams starting in 2026. As a result, Uefa decided to join in supporting the new format of the competition. UEFA is satisfied that it succeeded in postponing the final decision regarding the slot allocation of every confederation in the future format of the FIFA World Cup.

“We would also like to state that we are happy that the new proposed length and format of the tournament does not increase the burden on players. We will also ensure that clubs’ interests will continue to be protected.”

The English Football Association has also released a statement on the decision and says “we note that further discussions will follow across the confederations and would expect a proper consultation process to be carried out before any decision is made.”

Simply put, even though this decision has been made by the FIFA Council it could face plenty of legal battles from elsewhere in the soccer world.