The USA's joint 2026 World Cup bid isn't doing any damage control after President Donald Trump's tweet and press conference statements backing the effort.

By Grant Wahl
May 02, 2018

President Donald Trump issued a tweet last week supporting the North American World Cup 2026 bid and threatening countries that don't vote for it. But if you think the unified bid had to do damage control afterward, a high-ranking bid official says that is not the case.

Officials from all the North American bid countries are traveling internationally this week, and they say the response to Trump's tweet from voting countries has been positive, because it shows that the White House wants to host the World Cup and will work with FIFA's requirements on allowing visas to foreigners coming to the U.S. for the tournament. While the official said they would prefer Trump not threaten other countries, they like the fact that he’s engaged and that he brought up the World Cup bid in Monday's press conference with the Nigerian head of state. 

Trump’s tweet came after U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro and other bid officials met last week at the White House with officials, including Jared Kushner. FIFA also issued a warning regarding the use of political influence in the bidding process, though did not mention Trump by name.

Elsewhere around the soccer world:

Real Madrid not entirely convinced by Salah

I recently reported that a top Real Madrid source said Mohamed Salah would not be going to Madrid this summer. Part of the reasoning, I'm now told, is that while Madrid is intrigued by Salah, there are still some questions being asked at the club on whether Salah is having a career year that might not be repeatable—and whether Salah might be less like Lionel Messi and more like Riyad Mahrez during his career season for Leicester City when it won the title.

The sense inside Real Madrid right now is that it would like to see Salah do this again next year if if the club is going to commit in the range of $200 million on a transfer for him.

UEFA nations not opposed to expanded Club World Cup

The big topic of conversation between top club executives in Madrid and Rome this week has been about the proposed $25 billion bid from Chinese and Saudi Arabian investors to take over an expanded FIFA Club World Cup that would take place once every four years. The main question is whether UEFA and the big European clubs and leagues will agree to participate in the event.

I'm told the sense right now is that none of the top European stakeholders are saying they will refuse to do it, which likely means that if the price is right this new marquee event could end up happening. In fact, some are saying that hosting it might be a good consolation prize for whichever World Cup '26 bid, the North American bid or Morocco, ends up losing out on that World Cup.

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