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Volume 24 No. 219

Events and Attractions

In contrast to the joint bid of the U.S., Mexico and Canada for the '26 FIFA World Cup, Moroccan soccer officials have "provided scant detail about how they propose to stage the world’s biggest sporting event," according to Tariq Panja of the NY. TIMES. With five months to go before FIFA selects the '26 host, Morocco "only last week named" the country's Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy chair of its bid committee. It also does not "have a website." Moroccan officials are "privately playing down doubts about their bid" and insist they "have the resources to host the event." Officials said that the effort "soon will have greater visibility," but little about the plans has been "revealed publicly." However, the nature of the vote "means Morocco could prove a tougher than expected opponent." For the first time, FIFA has "changed its rules to place the selection of the host nation in the hands of its full membership, a privilege that until now had been reserved for what had been a 24-member executive board." Morocco’s best hope may be an "unlikely boost from President Trump," who was recently "said to have disparaged immigrants from Nigeria and other poor countries." Comoros Soccer Federation President Hassan Waberi said of Trump's reported comments, “We feel insulted and not happy. Of course it’s not good for the Americans.” Morocco’s plan for the World Cup will "include the construction of several new stadiums that can be reduced in size after the tournament" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/17).

The NHL's announcement that Kid Rock will "headline the league's All-Star Game" on Jan. 28 in Tampa was "immediately met with criticism" yesterday on social media, according to Sara Jane Harris of SPORTING NEWS. Kid Rock has been "accused in the past of racism, sexism and homophobia in his work and in his public statements." He has "displayed the Confederate flag during many of his concert tours, and he made headlines for his profane comments" about Colin Kaepernick (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 1/16). YAHOO SPORTS' Kyle Cantlon noted the "early reaction" to has been "overwhelmingly disapproving" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/16). In DC, Des Bieler writes more than a few fans "felt that 'Only God Knows Why' the league went with Kid Rock." The number of comments "far outweighed the numbers of retweets, which is bad, and not in an 'American Bad Ass' way" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 1/17).

ONLY GOD KNOWS WHY: Reaction on Twitter was largely negative, especially from hockey media members. The Hockey News' Jason Kay: "Hey @NHL, did you actually discuss inviting Kid Rock to perform at the ASG or was it an intern error?" TSN's Travis Yost: "Did the NHL get turned down by 10,000 more prominent musicians of was Kid Rock a first choice? Either way, amazing." Toronto Star's Bruce Arthur: "Man, does the NHL like standing next to Trump types." USAToday.com's Hemal Jhaveri: "Minorities, people of color and women already feel like the NHL doesn't gaf about them. Having Kid Rock as the All-Star game entertainment just underlies that point." Forbes' Alisha Grauso: "I've never seen @NHL fans more united than they are right now in hating the announcement that Kid Rock is playing the #NHLAllStar game." Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus: "I don't think Kid Rock aligns with most hockey fans' tastes, musically and otherwise." Film producer Adam Best: "What’s next, hiring Sean Hannity to do the play-by-play commentary? It makes no sense why the pro sports league with the least diverse audience would pander to the MAGA crowd."