Cordeiro, the U.S. Soccer Federation president and bid co-chair, also knows that back home, some people don’t believe him.
But Cordeiro insists that it’s true: Trump really doesn’t come up that much. He said it again in a recent interview with the Inquirer and Daily News.
“I know you want me to say yes, but the truth is, the answer is no,” Cordeiro said. “When the subject has come up, it’s been in the context of, ‘You have some terrific support from your federal government that we never thought you had because soccer isn’t perceived to be a major sport [in the U.S.].’ ”
The bid committee was informed of the Inquirer and Daily News’ survey of global views of Trump’s impact on the bid, and offered an interview with Cordeiro. He spoke openly on the subject.
“What more can I say? Not one federation president has said to me, ‘We are not going to support you because of who your president is in Washington,’ ” Cordeiro said. “Nobody has said that. Nobody.”
Cordeiro isn’t a politician, but he knows that sports and politics intersect. After all, the World Cup bid wouldn’t be possible without security and visa guarantees from national, state and local governments.
“That all three heads of state have voiced their support of the United Bid is welcomed by us — and by FIFA,” Cordeiro said. “There is nothing in the rule book that says they cannot tweet their support or bring it up in passing conversations they might have with visiting leaders. … FIFA would never award any nation the right to host a World Cup without the highest levels of government support.”
Cordeiro spoke by phone from Belarus. He had been in Latvia a few hours earlier, and later the same day flew to Poland. The next day, he was in Lithuania. Meanwhile, colleagues from Mexico and Canada were visiting a half-dozen other nations.
Why do that much traveling? Because each of FIFA’s 211 member nations gets a vote, except for the potential hosts and any nations suspended by world soccer’s governing body.
North America’s bid has public support from the 10-member South American confederation, and most of the North and Central American confederation. Rival Morocco is expected to win most of Africa.
“When you combine the public endorsements from Central and South America, together with the votes we expect from Asia, Europe, and Oceania, we feel we have a good path to victory,” Cordeiro said.
As the June 13 vote draws closer, Cordeiro’s sales pitch has sharpened. He highlights the certainty of North America’s infrastructure and the three nations’ guarantees about visas. And he makes sure to note that a World Cup here could turn an $11 billion profit for FIFA, sending more than $50 million to each member nation.
“The men’s World Cup is FIFA’s prized asset and is relied on for funding just about everything else FIFA is involved with,” Cordeiro said. “We believe that these economics help support the strength of our united bid’s technical superiority.”