SBD/May 11, 2017/Events and Attractions

Sources: Leaders Of North American '26 World Cup Bid Look To Meet With President Trump

Leaders of the joint North American World Cup bid for '26 are "hoping to arrange a meeting -- and photo opportunity" -- with President Trump "within the next month or two," according to sources cited by Sam Borden of ESPN FC. There have been "persistent questions about how President Trump's proposed border wall might affect a partnership between U.S. Soccer and the Mexican federation, as well as the need to show FIFA full government support." The purpose of the trip to the White House is to "make it clear, both to FIFA and any other potential bidders, that Washington is backing the proposal by the U.S., Canada and Mexico to bring the World Cup to the continent for the first time" since '94. U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati said that Trump has "previously communicated his approval of the joint bid." Borden noted both the Mexican and Canadian federations, as well as CONCACAF, were "optimistic after FIFA's council approved their proposal to fast-track the awarding of the bid, moving up the timeline considerably from the original date" in '20. But now "any country interested in bidding" for the '26 tournament "must express interest by Aug. 11." Borden noted "many questions still remain" about the bid, and Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria has "faced criticism from Mexican fans about the division of games: 60 for the United States, with 10 apiece for Canada and Mexico" (ESPNFC.us, 5/10). 
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