Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been going in different directions in a couple of soccer issues in the United States before the 2020 presidential election. The election has come and gone, but the intrigues are still very fresh in the hearts of those who followed the campaigns and all the drama that come with it.
It is no longer news that Joe Biden was officially declared the winner of the election and that President Donald Trump is still fighting that there were irregularities in the conduct of the election. The incumbent president has already taken the outcome of the election to court and legal proceedings have started.
While the world is waiting for the outcome of the court proceedings, it is pertinent to look at some of the stance Donald Trump and Joe Biden held before the election which took place on November 3, 2020.
Before the election, three events related to soccer took the centre stage, those events are FIFA World Cup hosting right, soccer players taking a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and equal pay for the female soccer team of the United States.
Though the incumbent President has duly credited himself for winning the hosting right of the 2026 FIFA World Cup which will take place in the US, Canada, and Mexico, Biden followed the popular side in all the soccer issues that arose between 2019 and 2020.
Below are some of the soccer issues and the stance of Donald Trump and Joe Biden
- 2026 World Cup
One big achievement of President Donald Trump is bringing the FIFA World Cup to the United States (though he had to share the hosting right with Mexico and Canada). The president was the first to tweet about his role in securing the hosting right.
Immediately after FIFA confirmed that the World Cup will be hosted in North America, Trump took to Twitter to applaud himself and all those who worked on the team that successfully secured the hosting right ahead of Morocco.
“Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the USA, Mexico, and Canada,” Trump tweeted.
“I worked hard on this, along with a great team of talented people. We never fail, and it will be a great World Cup! A special thanks to Bob Kraft for the excellent advice.”
Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the U.S.A., Mexico and Canada. I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people. We never fail, and it will be a great World Cup! A special thanks to Bob Kraft for excellent advice.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018
Unfortunately for Biden who was the vice president under former President Barrack Obama, he could not share in the glory of North America hosting the World Cup. He however made do of the fact that he always finds means to show support for both the male and female soccer teams of the country.
- Black Lives Matter movement
One of the areas President Trump struggled so hard was the issue of the Black Lives Matter movement especially when it found its way into soccer in the US.
The aspect of the movement which Trump struggled with was the fact that players to take a knee when the national anthem is being sung. This practice was made popular by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 in protest of police brutality and racial discrimination in the US.
US female soccer player Megan Rapinoe joined the movement by kneeling in a couple of soccer matches in solidarity with Kaepernick which forced US soccer to place a ban on players kneeling when the national anthem is being sung in 2017.
However, in 2020, the movement became stronger after a white police officer murdered a black man in a broad daylight. US soccer teams and Major League soccer players began to take a knee in solidarity with the movement. Hence, US soccer decided to reverse its 2017 decision and permitted players to take a knee.
This did not go down well with Trump who took to Twitter to disown US soccer, saying: “I won’t be watching much anymore! And it looks like the NFL is heading in that direction also, but not with me watching!”
On the other hand, Joe Biden threw his full weight behind the movement and also took to Twitter to show his support for what the US soccer teams and players were doing in protest of police brutality and racial discrimination.
“African Americans need a fair shake when it comes to economic opportunity, healthcare, criminal justice, education, and housing”, Joe Biden said.
Black lives matter. No president should be afraid to say it. pic.twitter.com/636AQZ04lW— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 27, 2020
- Equal Pay
The US female soccer team fought very hard for equal pay especially after the team won the 2019 World Cup. But Trump decided to be diplomatic in his approach to the issue. The farthest Trump took the issue was to discuss it with Fifa president Gianni Infantino in 2019.
In the meeting, Trump admitted that the issue of equal pay for both female and male soccer stars is a matter of the attention both sides can draw and the financial impact of such attention. He concluded that he has not taken a stand on the issue and didn’t take a stand until now.
He said: “I think a lot of it also has to do with the economics. I mean who draws more? Where is the money coming in?
“I know that when you have the great stars like [Portugal’s Cristiano] Ronaldo and some of these stars… that get paid a lot of money, but they draw hundreds of thousands of people.
“But I haven’t taken a position on that at all. I’d have to look at it.”
On the other hand, Joe Biden has been more emphatic in his support for equal pay. He displayed such support for United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) by threatening not to fund US soccer when he becomes president (if the soccer association fails to implement the equal pay the soccer players are agitating for). Joe Biden’s support came when the female team won the 2019 FIFA World Cup.
“USWNT, congratulations on the big win and thank you for the jersey!” he tweeted after the US female team won the 2019 World Cup. “Your talent, heart, and advocacy for equal pay represents the best of America and serves as an inspiration for all.”
.@USWNT, congratulations on the big win and thank you for the jersey! Your talent, heart, and advocacy for equal pay represents the best of America and serves as an inspiration for all. #USWNTParade pic.twitter.com/0cDZiV8xz0— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 10, 2019
“To USWNT: don’t give up this fight,” he tweeted in May 2020. “This is not over yet.
“To U.S. Soccer: equal pay, now. Or else when I’m president, you can go elsewhere for World Cup funding.”
His support for equal pay won the full support of Megan Rapinoe, the most followed US female soccer star. Rapinoe became more critical of Trump’s government and campaigned heavily for Joe Biden. Her support and that of other numerous soccer stars contributed to the victory of Biden, though the victory was still being contested as at the time of publishing this report.