Donald Trump has been mocked by football fans after he claimed ‘soccer has to be one of the fastest growing sports in the world’.
The President made the comments as he met FIFA president Gianni Infantino ahead of the planned World Cup in the US, Mexico and Canada in 2026.
Trump told the head of world football: ‘My son Barron loves soccer and soccer has to be one of the fastest growing sports in the world. And the job you’ve done is really fantastic, Gianni.’
Donald Trump jokes with a football red card as he meets the head of game’s governing body, Gianni Infantino, at the White House yesterday
Football fans piled in after Trump said ‘soccer is one of the fastest growing sports in the world’
He added: ‘Soccer is a game, I guess you call it football. But over here, maybe at some point they’ll change the name, I’m not sure. But we’ll see. It’s working very well either way.’
Fans around the world were quick to point out that football is already the world’s most watched game worldwide, rather than a ‘growing sport’.
Graham Breeze wrote: ‘It’s been around in “the world” for many years. It just happens to be growing in the USA where they play mens netball and rounders.’
Liverpool supporter Josh tweeted: ‘”Has to be one of the fastest growing sports in the world”. Yeah, I’m hoping it catches on in Europe, Donald!’
Dennis Taylor asked: ‘Do you even know what soccer is? The game has been played in many forms for 1000s of years, before England laid out rules in the early 1800s. Look up facts before opening mouth.’
Infantino handed Mr Trump a number of gifts, including a World Cup football, a FIFA football shirt with ‘Trump’ on the back and a referee’s book with red and yellow cards in.
Trump was presented with his own FIFA football shirt by Mr Infantino during the visit
He was given a set of referee’s cards and pretended to throw one at attending reporters
Fans also made light of the President’s attempt to throw a red card at the media
Trump appeared to misunderstand how red and yellow cards were handed out in the game, attempting to throw the red card at the attending media.
Mr Infantino explained: ‘Yellow card is a warning, and if you want to kick out someone,’ he joked, presenting the president with a pair of cards – also including a red card, for kicking a player out of the game. So this could be useful, I don’t know that’s for you.’
Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S. Soccer, joked Trump could use it at ‘the next media session.’
Mr Infantino was meeting with Mr Trump to discuss the 2026 World Cup, which the US will be hosting alongside Canada and Mexico.
Mr Infantino predicted the 2026 edition will be the biggest sporting event in the world.
More than three billion people around the globe are thought to have watched at least one match of this year’s World Cup in Russia.