U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati announced on Monday that the U.S., Canada and Mexico issued a collective bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and President Trump is backing the bid, Gulati tweeted.

The decision to spread the games across three countries was reportedly linked to President Trump’s travel ban, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, who tweeted Sunday:

The federation, in part, sought assurances that countries like Iran, which is both a regular competitor in the World Cup and also a country on the president’s list of banned countries, could fully participate. Mr. Trump’s travel ban would restrict immigration and travel from six countries in the Middle East, including Iran, if it were in effect.

A month ago, FIFA President Gianni Infantino told reporters in London, “Teams who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup,” according to The Guardian. “That is obvious.” 

In January, Gulati weighed in on the ban, saying that successful sports enterprises depend on “movement” of “players, of ideas.” 

Gulati said in his statement to ESPNFC: “How this plays out in terms of international events, I think that’s frankly a secondary issue right now. The issue involving the executive order and its implications are far broader than that.”

The 2026 World Cup will be the largest in sports history, including 48 teams and 80 total matches. 

Sixty of those 80 games would be held in the U.S. if the trio’s bid is selected, according to Gulati. The bids are still being evaluated, and a final decision won’t be announced until May of 2020. 

Currently, Mr. Trump’s revised ban has been suspended by the federal courts while the legal battles over the ban are resolved. 

The administration has appealed some of the court rulings, including one from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The full Fourth Circuit will also be hearing the travel ban case.  

FIFA came under fire in 2015 from U.S. and Swiss investigations over corruption charges. After an FBI investigation, 14 officials and associates from FIFA were indicted in May 2015 for high levels of corruption such as racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud schemes. 

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Vladimir Putin is planning a war to cling on to power and unite Russia, a political opponent has claimed.

The Russian President was accused by liberal Grogory Yavlinsky of looking to use the “tactic” to deflect attention away from corruption allegations engulfing his senior figures.

Mr Yavlinsky, who is likely to stand against Mr Putin in next year’s presidential elections, said: “If the situation gets worse, the power will have to start some new gamble in order to draw attention away and ‘to consolidate’.

“Most likely, it will be some kind of war.”

He suggested Mr Putin had used the strategy previously, highlighting Ukraine as an example.

Grigory Yavlinsky suggested Putin could use conflict to strengthen his position as President

But he warned Syria – where tension is now acute – is a “trap for Russia”.

He added: “Russia itself got into the marsh of the endless Middle East religious war, and now our competitors need just one thing – to keep us there as long as possible, to sink there forever, wasting all available and not available recourses.

“We have to get out of there right now.

“But it is very difficult at this very moment because the attack of Americans in Syria was taken as a challenge.”

He also claimed Mr Putin misjudged Donald Trump, hoping he would prove to be a Russian ally.

Mr Putin was criticised for his misjudgment of Donald Trump

“From the very beginning it was clear that Trump won’t drag Russia out of international isolation and sanctions,” he said.

“But the American attack on the governmental aviation base in Syria is the end of the game called ‘Trump is ours’.

“It should be clear for everybody that our country does not need to push this conflict up to the hot war with the USA. Neither our economy, nor our military opportunities can afford it.”

Boris Johnson is spearheading efforts for Russia to abandon Bashar al-Assad

It comes as Russia turned its fire on Boris Johnson by mocking him on Twitter.

The Foreign Secretary had been due to meet his opposite number Sergei Lavrov today before dramatically calling off his visit.

Mr Johnson is now spearheading international efforts to force Russia to abandon its ally Bashar al-Assad amid claims he used chemical weapons on his own people in a deadly attack last week.

Boris Johnson
Russia’s foreign ministry sought to mock Boris Johnson using a picture taken at the 2012 Paralympic Games

And Russia’s foreign ministry sought to ridicule Britain’s top diplomat by posting an unflattering picture with the message: “We don’t think that we need a dialogue with Boris Johnson more than he needs it.”

Moscow also today confirmed the return of a modern Admiral Grigorovich-class to its Mediterranean fleet providing cover to the Syrian armed forces.

Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the Russian upper house defence and security committee, said: “We have already attacked militants from its deck.

“This is not so much about the moral support for the Syrian armed forces in the fight against terrorists as about fire cover.”