Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018 World Cup opening ceremony underway in Moscow

Muneer and his club members

Muneer and his club members

Russian officials have said the rainbow flag would be allowed at World Cup venues, even though a 2013 law bans so-called "propaganda" of homosexuality to under-18s.

Yet, nobody would mistake any of the potential candidates as a friend of Donald Trump, and with recent sparring between the US president's administration and Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the same can be said for the northern nation's leader.

A total of 41 African nations backed the Moroccan bid, meaning the North Africans picked up just 24 non-African votes from a possible 147 outside the continent.

Both bids made their final appeals to UEFA voters in Moscow on Tuesday, with Morocco and United expected to get a vast show of support from their respective confederations. "And in that spirit we wish all Russian hosts and all the teams competing here the very best of luck".

The expanded 2026 men's event, featuring 48 teams for the first time, will be played in 16 different cities - 10 in the USA, plus three sites in both Canada and Mexico.

"We congratulate all of those who worked tirelessly to bring the World Cup back to North America and thank the countries that voted for the United Bid, and for their belief in our vision for the future of the sport in our region".

While Trump has been feuding with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over tariffs and policy after the G-7 meeting and with Mexican leaders about his proposed border wall, the heads of state are not heavily involved in this World Cup bid. The United States hosted the tournament in 1994 while Mexico has hosted in 1970 and 1986.

While Morocco's combined tickets and hospitality revenue projected to be $1.07 billion, according to Federation Internationale de Football Association analysis, North America would generate $2 billion more.

The 87,000-capacity MetLife Stadium outside NY - home of the NFL's Giants and Jets - is proposed for the final.

"No one has said to us they're not voting for us because of who we have in the White House".

A successful North American bid would likely also give the Canadian national team an automatic berth into the 2026 tournament.

The 66-year-old veteran campaigner was led away by police shortly after unfolding a poster that said President Vladimir "Putin fails to act against Chechnya torture of gay people".

The 2026 award is also a victory for many of FIFA's corporate partners, which will have the advantage of more teams and the world's biggest media market.

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