1. Donald Trump may cost US FIFA World Cup, says Soccer Federation chief Sunil Gulati

Donald Trump may cost US FIFA World Cup, says Soccer Federation chief Sunil Gulati

The world is gearing up for yet another exciting FIFA World Cup which will be held in Russia. The tournament will kick off on June 14 and the finals will be played on July 15 in Moscow.

By: | New Delhi | Published: January 19, 2018 6:54 PM
US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati made a shocking revelation and how President Donald Trump might cost them the World Cup. (Reuters)

The world is gearing up for yet another exciting FIFA World Cup which will be held in Russia. The tournament will kick off on June 14 and the finals will be played on July 15 in Moscow. As the 31 nations that have qualified for the extravaganza are preparing themselves, some nations are planning to bid for the 2026 World Cup. However, US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati made a shocking revelation and how President Donald Trump might cost them the World Cup. International political controversies involving Donald Trump could hurt worldwide perceptions of America and its joint 2026 World Cup bid with Canada and Mexico, outgoing US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati warned on Thursday.

While talking to ESPN, Gulati said he worries that political issues could hurt the North American bid and it “will be a tough battle” even with Morocco as the only rival bidder. Although the Mexico-Canada-USA application has an upper hand keeping the stadium sizes and tourism infrastructure in mind but more is needed to convince voters given that the entire membership, rather than an executive council, as in past balloting, will decide on 13 June whether to select one of the bids to host in 2026, Gulati said.

“We have to go out and convince what eventually will be 104 voters to vote for us,” Gulati told the audience. “We would like to get a few extra not to make it a one-vote swing. But this won’t be easy.”

Gulati cited situations out of the bid group’s control, touching upon stormy US relations with North Korea, Trump’s plan to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. “This is not only about our stadiums and our hotels and all that. It’s about perceptions of America and it’s a difficult time in the world,” Gulati said. “So there are only certain things we can control. We can’t control what happens at the 38th parallel in Korea, we can’t control what happens with embassies in Tel Aviv and we can’t control what happens with climate change accords. We do the best we can. We have the support of Washington,” he added.

Gulati will be the chairman of the United bid committee board of directors, although he will be stepping down from the post next month after 12 years as US Soccer’s president. “I’m spending 90 percent of waking hours on (the bid) at this point,” Gulati said.

In a US Soccer video, Gulati said that, “Regardless of whether other countries were bidding, we would treat this as a competition,” and added, “We’re going to treat every part of the bid application very seriously and exceed all of FIFA’s standards and make it impossible to say why not USA, Mexico and Canada.”

Unfortunately, US did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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