The ongoing political tension in the United States has seen their bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, joined by Canada and Mexcio, come under increased pressure from Morocco.
According to some estimates, the Moroccan effort is not only close, but has supplanted the North American bid as the frontrunners.
By stressing the involvement of Canada and Mexico, the bid committee hopes to offset the damage caused by the American geopolitical landscape.
It remains to be seen whether the inclusion of Canada, whose World Cup record stands at 3 matches played, 3 losses, 0 goals scored, 5 conceded; and Mexico, who incidentally hosted that very same tournament, will have any effect.
Still, the North American proposal minimises the involvement of the two extra countries, with neither playing any role past the round of 16, save for the possibility of Mexico earning the right to play in the quarterfinals, or beyond.
Of particular note is the current treatment of Arab and poorer countries by the American government. And while many of the politicians will be gone by 2026, the actions they take today will have repercussions long after their term is over, in and out of sport.
All four potential host countries are exempt from the bid. The Guatemalan federation, which was expected to support the North American bid, is also suspended.
Morocco have reportedly earned the lion's share of support from Asia, South America, and Africa, while the joint bid is expected to receive the support of North America, Oceania, and most of the European associations.
Unless this changes, the tournament appears to be Morocco's to lose.
And, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who resigned amid the 2015 FIFA corruption scandal, and was subsequently banned from the sport for six years, has backed the Moroccan bid for the World Cup.
The 2026 World Cup host will be announced on June 13th.