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U.S. governed territories are allowed to vote in the 2026 World Cup contest, says FIFA

In one of its recent statements, FIFA said that U.S. governed territories are entitled to vote in June. The decision comes as Morocco raised questions about potential conflicts of interest in the context of the voting procedure.

U.S. governed territories are allowed to vote in the 2026 World Cup contest./Ph. DR
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Football international governing body will allow territories governed by the United States to take part in the 2026 World Cup vote, scheduled for June, reports Associated Press.

FIFA’s decision comes as Morocco, one of the bidding nations, sent a letter asking whether American Samoa, Guan, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands will be allowed to vote on June the 13th in Russia.

«FIFA’s member associations are entitled to participate and vote in the FIFA Congress», the body told AP, insisting that the above-mentioned territories are considered to be separate football nations. Meanwhile, Morocco protested against the measure declaring in its letter that this «would have a conflict in the vote», reports the same source.

Morocco is competing against the North American joint bid, conducted by the United States, Canada and Mexico to host the 23rd FIFA World Cup. More than 200 federations will be able to vote in Russia in nearly one month. Morocco, Canada, the U.S., and Mexico will be excluded from the vote.

The second letter

«Regarding potential conflicts of interest in the context of the voting procedure for the election of the host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup ... at the time of writing, no member association has notified FIFA about its intention not to perform their duties in connection with the bidding procedure», stressed FIFA in the same statement.

A FIFA spokesman referred to the same idea when speaking to British newspaper the Guardian. «All member associations are entitled to participate and vote at the congress in Moscow in June», says the same source pointing at the bidding regulations interred into force in October. 

For instance, a delegate with «a conflict of interest shall decline to participate to the voting», explains article 4.2 of the above-mentioned rules. «The delegate shall notify the FIFA general secretariat immediately» of conflict of interest, says the Guardian.

«FIFA is organized around soccer federations and that’s what allows you to vote. This is not who’s under the reach of the Queen or who’s a former French colonial authority. This is who has a soccer federation».

It is not the first time that Morocco protests against the rules set by FIFA when it comes to the 2026 World Cup.

In April, head of the Moroccan Royal Football Federation Fouzi Lekjaa sent a letter to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, denouncing the «undisclosed changes» added to the eligibility criteria few hours before the deadline for bid books were submitted last month.

During a press briefing held March in Casablanca, Morocco bid chairman Moulay Hafid Elalamy questioned the impartiality of the FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Elalamy referred to Infantino’s comments on the North American bid in a press conference held in Dubai, where he said that «joint biddings are certainly positive».

The FIFA responded stressing that its president won't meddle in the 2026 World Cup bids.

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