Week 243 (9 - 15 June 2018)
To some FIFA watchers, the first match up of the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup was not the 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia by the home nation - it was the almost equally comprehensive win by the United Bid (USA, Canada, Mexico) over Morocco for the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
With 210 voters to woo at the FIFA Congress in Moscow this week, the United 2026 bid secured 134 votes compared to Morocco’s 65 - a whopping 2:1 margin, which many expert media had failed to predict. Instead, several of the pundits sided with the more aggressive assertions and accusations coming from the Morocco camp.
The United 2026 bid was rarely aggressive and seldom made any public accusations. The team went about its business in a quiet, unassuming way, knowing that the real battleground was not in public pronouncements or allegations against FIFA bias. The United 2026 way was one of personal contact with voters and influencers, where and when allowed, with some gentle mood music played out through the old and new media.
The FIFA vote created history for this marquee event. For the first time since its inception in 1930, the FIFA World Cup will be hosted simultaneously by three nations. The size and scope of FIFA’s expanded 48-team format made United 2026 an obvious choice for many voters and, with first-class stadia and support venues already built, the United 2026 team was able to focus on the important aspects of any World Cup: the players and the fans.
The United 2026 bid was also smart in reminding FIFA voters of their potential to leave an invaluable, intangible legacy in areas where its competitor reportedly had issues.
“We are committed to using football to transform lives and communities, to change thinking and shape behaviours to help address critical social and environmental issues, and to embed respect for human rights throughout every aspect of the game,” the United 2026 Bid Book stated.
From the start of the campaign, which began officially in April 2017, the United 2026 bid team set its stall out to compete in a transparent manner. Not for them, the need to offer all-expenses paid media trips to five-star resorts. United 2026 instead focused its attention on addressing some of the issues faced by the World Cup and the needs of the member associations.
United 2026’s commitment was to improving the quality of the game, working to ensure that everyone could benefit from a United 2026 World Cup. Sure, money talked in the end. But no-one said being able to generate huge profits to reinvest in the global grass roots of the sport was against the rules. The voters clearly got the right message.
In an emotional speech following the vote, President of US Soccer Carlos Cordeiro said:
"Football is the only victor, we are all united in football. Thank you so, so much for this incredible honour. Thank you for entrusting us with this privilege."
“Hosting a FIFA World Cup is an extraordinary honour and privilege,” said Steven Reed, President of Canada Soccer. “Our vision is of a world of opportunity for the global football community.”
“We are grateful for the chance to bring to life FIFA’s new vision for the future of football,” added Decio de María, President of the Mexico Football Federation. “Together we will use this platform to unite the world around football and help create a new and sustainable blueprint for the future of FIFA World Cups.”
So, for its carefully considered and understated winning campaign, the United 2026 team is JTA Communicator of the Week.
Photo: United 2026