Donald Trump's controversial updated travel ban could prevent the United States from hosting the expanded 2026 World Cup, Fifa president Gianni Infantino has indicated.
The United States is currently favourite to win the rights to host the 2026 World Cup, which will be expanded from 32 to 48 teams, either on its own or in partnership with Mexico and Canada.
Yet the new executive order signed by the US president on Monday - which bans immigration from six Muslim-majority countries - could jeopardise the bid team’s prospects of meeting the Fifa requirements.
Mr Infantino made the point during a visit to London, saying: "When it comes to FIFA competitions, any team, including the supporters and officials of that team, who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup. That is obvious."
Of the countries affected by the executive order, Iran has the highest-ranked team in the FIFA rankings at 33rd and they have qualified for four World Cups.
Libya (92), Syria (95), Sudan (138), Yemen (148) and Somalia (205) are the other countries on the list.
The head of football’s world governing body said he had “huge respect” for the office of the US president and accepted Mr Trump had been elected to “take decisions that are best for his country”.
Mr Infantino said it would be up to the US bid team to decide if their application to host the competition could continue or not once Fifa finalises its bidding restrictions.