UEFA Warns US Against Travel Restrictions
The United States’ hopes of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026 will be damaged, perhaps even critically, if president Donald Trump’s travel restrictions come into full force, Europe’s top football official said.
Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA president, said measures that might prevent players, fans or journalists from attending the event would count against any bid.
The United States is a clear favourite to be awarded the 2026 tournament, either on its own or as part of a joint North American bid with Mexico and Canada.
But in an interview last week, Ceferin suggested that it would “not help” if president Donald Trump succeeded in placing harsher restrictions on travel to the United States from certain countries in the near ter m. Though Trump’s initial 90-day ban on immigration and travel from seven Muslim-majority countries was overturned by a federal court, he has vowed to introduce a second executive order.
“If players cannot come because of political decisions, or populist decisions, then the World Cup cannot be played there. It is true for the United States, but also for all the other countries that would like to organise a World Cup,” Ceferin said.
“It is the same for the fans, and the journalists, of course. It is the World Cup. They should be able to attend the event, whatever their nationality is.”
Ceferin’s warning is significant; in addition to his position leading UEFA, he is a vice-president of FIFA. Bids for the 2026 tournament must be submitted by December 2018, before the start of a 13-month evaluation phase. FIFA will choose the host at a congress in May 2020.
US Soccer declined to comment on Ceferin’s remarks.