Fifa lifts gag on backing of 2026 World Cup bids
Fifa has lifted a ban on voters publicly endorsing a bid for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted in either USA, Canada and Mexico, or Morocco.
Soccer's governing body imposed the restrictions last month, much to the frustration of Ahmad Ahmad, president of the Confederation of African Football, who had hoped to get his 54-member nations to endorse the Morocco bid publicly during a Caf congress in Casablanca three weeks ago.
However, in a letter to all member associations, Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura wrote: "All public statements by football officials in support of one bidder are admissible provided that they meet the underlying principles of ethical behavior. They shall be limited to genuine support for the preferred bidder and contain no statements against the competitive bidder or requests for bloc voting.
"Officials shall consider whether, from a common sense perspective, the nature and form of a statement can be considered as `fair' and `not unduly influencing the bidding process.'"
All 211 Fifa member nations, with the exception of the four participating bidders, will vote to select the 2026 host in Moscow on 13 June, one day before the World Cup starts.
Meanwhile, a group of 43 US senators, both Republicans and Democrats, have written to president Donald Trump to "express our support" for the three-way bid and urging him to back the campaign.
The group citied the millions of Americans who "play or watch soccer at youth, collegiate, recreational and professional levels today," and the nation's "melting pot of cultures, identities, and races."
They claim a joint World Cup with Mexico and Canada would "deepen the relationship between our citizens and the extended global soccer community."
USA plans to stage 60 of the 80 games at the 2026 World Cup, with 10 each in Canada and Mexico.