The Trump administration has repeatedly promised FIFA, world soccer's governing body, that it would ease restrictions on travel if the United States were to host the World Cup along with Mexico and Canada in 2026, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
According to the Times, President Donald Trump has sent three letters to Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, since March.
The letters reportedly guarantee that any foreign teams, officials, or fans whose countries qualify for the tournament would be allowed into the U.S. for World Cup matches without restriction.
The lax travel restrictions would include allowing those subject to President Trump's ban on six Muslim-majority countries into the U.S.
In the most recent letter dated May 2, Trump told Infantino that fans, athletes, and officials would be able to enter the U.S. “without discrimination.”
“[A]ll eligible athletes, officials and fans from all countries around the world would be able to enter the United States without discrimination, in keeping with FIFA's requirements and subject to the impartial application of United States law,” the president wrote.
This confirmed a guarantee that former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made in March when he wrote, according to the Times, that the U.S. would “issues visas, subject to eligibility under U.S. law, without regard to race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion, or any other opinion, disability, wealth, birth or any other status, or sexual orientation.”
President Trump has openly lobbied for the U.S. to host the 2026 World Cup along with Mexico and Canada on Twitter:
The U.S. has put together a STRONG bid w/ Canada & Mexico for the 2026 World Cup. It would be a shame if countries that we always support were to lobby against the U.S. bid. Why should we be supporting these countries when they don’t support us (including at the United Nations)?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2018
On Wednesday, representatives from every soccer federation around the world will meet in Moscow to select the location of the 2026 World Cup through a public vote.