White House promises ‘no discrimination’ travel from Muslim countries for World Cup 2026
There were fears that a World Cup part-hosted by the US would pose difficulty after Trump issued an executive order last year indefinitely restricting travel for citizens from six majority-Muslim countries: Somalia, Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, and Chad.
But the US government told FIFA, in a letter last week, that “all eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination”, AP reports.
A senior Trump administration official last month advised citizens not to travel to Russia for the 2018 World Cup over concerns the US wouldn’t be able to “protect our citizens” due to a “lack of consular support”.
Despite the warnings, US citizens account for the largest number of ticket sales to foreign fans for the 2018 tournament. The event opens with Russia versus Saudi Arabia on June 14 at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, and runs through to the final on July 15 at the same venue.
The US, Canada and Mexico are jointly bidding for the right to host the 2026 tournament with a promise to deliver $14bn revenue for FIFA and $11bn in profit. A vote by the FIFA Congress will take place on June 13, just one day before the opening match of Russia 2018.
The nations face competition from Morocco, whose proposal was rocked by scandal after it emerged their bid allegedly omitted information on laws making homosexuality a crime there, which sparked outrage among LGBT and human rights groups.