U.S. travel ban would hurt 2026 World Cup bid - UEFA chief
The United States would struggle to win a bid to host the 2026 World Cup should U.S. President Donald Trump succeed in imposing a travel ban, says UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
Ceferin, who heads up the sport's governing body in Europe and also serves as a FIFA vice president, said any measures that would stop players, fans or journalists from attending such an event would put any bid at risk.
The United States, Canada and Mexico have begun informal talks about making a three-way bid to host the biggest-ever World Cup in 2026 after FIFA decided to expand the tournament to 48 teams.
Ceferin told The New York Times that immigration restrictions would be among the areas considered during the evaluation of a United States bid.
Trump imposed a temporary U.S. travel ban last month for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, although it has since been blocked from being carried out by a federal court ruling.
"It will be part of the evaluation, and I am sure it will not help the United States to get the World Cup," Ceferin said. "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.
"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. But let's hope that it does not happen."
FIFA's target is May 2020 to choose the 2026 host, though that could change during meetings being held in Bahrain in May.
Ceferin also warned that the United Kingdom's "Brexit" from the European Union could cause a "serious problem" with visa issues, while suggesting Barcelona's Neymar and Lionel Messi could already face difficulties entering the country.
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