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Duane Rollins

The devil you know -- Will US politics kill Canada's World Cup hosting ambition

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What is the only country in the world to have hosted ever FIFA event in both the men's and women's game?

It's just a trivia question, but one that the Canadian Soccer Association badly wants to be the answer to. As of right now that answer is no one. If the United Bid of 2026 wins the day, Canada will lay claim to winning a race that no one else realized they were running (if we conveniently consider the 2002 Women's u19 event the current FIFA Women's U17 World Cup that is, but let's not get bogged down in literal facts right now). 

The idea that this frozen land of ice hockey loving hosers that call the game soccer could possibly be the first to host every potential event is a compelling one and one that will get trotted out a lot in the build up to the bid vote and (hopefully for the CSA) over the eight year preparation for hosting.

The dream of landing the big prize of the men's World Cup has been openly talked about in Canadian soccer circles for at least a decade and work on a bid has been ongoing for far longer than most people realize. However, it was only in recent years that the CSA was convinced to drop their solo bid and instead attach their hopes to the United States where they are very much a minor partner along with Mexico.

It was really a path of least resistance for Canada. The US obviously has some incredible infrastructure advantages that neither Canada or Mexico can match, without building new stadiums themselves. Although Canada could build the stadiums -- We're rich. We could --  in today's political climate getting stadiums built with public funds is an exceptionally difficult thing to do. 

But, also in today's political climate the United States has elected a man who is...let's call him divisive. That shouldn't offend any of his supporters that might read this, as they value that divisiveness.

That's their choice, but what matters here is that those who did not chose, or have a choice, to elect Donald Trump President do have a vote in the election to chose the 2026 World Cup host. 

And, many of those people do not appreciate Trump calling their country a shithole, as he was perceived to have done last month.    

There's no sense being coy about this. Trump is an obstacle to the bid winning. Canadian soccer has attached itself to the Trump Train, whether it wanted to or not. 

And the train could throw the bid straight off the tracks. 

When Morocco launched its bid to upset the United 2026 bid few gave it any chance. Now, however, many people are starting to do the math and are getting very nervous. As much as the ExCo voting structure was a mess that gave us Qatar and Russia, it was a little more predictable. The new one country, one vote system is a bit of a mystery.

That said, some math:

United Bid -- 

Nearly sure thing: CONCACAF 38 (Canada, USA, Mexico and Nicaragua) not eligible) votes, Western Europe 31, Oceania 14 + Japan and Australia = 84 votes

Morocco -- 

Nearly sure thing: Africa 55 votes (Morocco not eligible), Middle East 12, Central Asia 6 votes + North Korea  = 74 votes

That leaves the rest of Asia (26 votes), South America (10 votes) and Eastern Europe (24 votes) as your decider. Can the United Bid find 20 votes from that 60? 

Probably?

Probably isn't that reassuring, especially since much of Canada's rebuilding plan on the men's side is dependent on getting this bid. And it's increasing becoming harder to argue that a Canada only bid would have been any worse off than tying ourselves to the political anchor that is the current state of US politics. 

 

 

     

 

 


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