FIFA president Gianni Infantino has suggested Donald Trump's travel ban could have an impact on the United States' chances of hosting the 2026 World Cup.
"Teams who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup"
No restrictions allowed for participants
The US president's latest draft of an immigration executive order bans individuals travelling from Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya from entering the country. FIFA's bidding process to host the World Cup in 2026 has been postponed, but the US was expected to be among the nations putting their names forward for the event.
"Teams who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup," Infantino told reporters in London on Thursday. "That is obvious."
"Mr Trump is the president of the United States of America, and as such, of course, I have huge respect for what he does. He's in charge, together with his government, to take decisions that are best for his country. That's why he has been elected.
Requirements defined, bids submitted
"We are now in the process of defining the bid requirements. In the world there are many countries who have bans, travel bans, visa requirements and so on and so forth. It's obvious when it comes to FIFA competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. The requirements will be clear.
"And then each country can make up their decision, whether they want to bid or not based on the requirements."
The US is reportedly considering a joint-bid with Mexico and Canada and Trump's travel ban could also affect Los Angeles' hopes of holding the 2024 Olympic Games, while FIFA's plan to share the World Cup across the globe means the tournament will not go to Europe or Asia in nine years' time as Russia and Qatar are hosting the competition in 2018 and 2022 respectively.