Maybe you have seen this rumor circulating recently: Peru, the last team to earn their spot in the 2018 World Cup, might be passing a law that would disqualify them from participating in the World Cup, and like some dismal, shameful Christmas miracle, your very own U.S. Men’s National Team might replace them! Woo hoo!
This apparently started when a report in the Peruvian newspaper Libero brought attention to a particular bill, which caught the eye of Fox Sports Australia, SB Nation, and ESPN. Here are some details, per the Fox Sports Australia report:
Peruvian newspaper Libero reports that congresswoman Paloma Noceda has put forward a new law which would place their national governing football body under the control of its institute of sport.
That would go against FIFA’s stance on government interference in the running of the sport, which Libero reports could result in Peru being excluded from FIFA tournaments.
If Peru were to be removed from the competitions, FIFA hold the right to choose whichever nation to take their place, with World Cup regulations explaining: “If any association withdraws or is excluded from the competition, the FIFA Organising Committee shall decide on the matter at its sole discretion and take whatever action is deemed necessary.
But! Even if Peru’s government were crazy enough to pass a law that voided their first World Cup berth in 36 years (they’re definitely not), you’re still a long way away from FIFA just randomly selecting the United States—a shitty team from a whole different qualifying region—to replace them. It would be a bizarre and nearly indefensible choice. The best anyone can come up with is, “well, the US does spend a lot of money on things”:
The New Zealand Herald reports that the USA could also be in the mix due to financial reasons, with America’s Fox Sports paying AU$512m to televise the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The author of the bill has said that, even if it were to pass, by design it does not meet the requirements for disqualification. And Peru Football Federation president Edwin Oveido assured ESPN FC that there is “no danger” of Peru being disqualified, and that lawmakers listened to the organization’s suggestions “in order not to take this risk. We at the FPF are calm. It’s impossible that we risk Peru’s participation. Our national team will be in Russia 2018.” Rats.
I for one would’ve felt no personal shame whatsoever about rooting for the USMNT if they’d backed their way into the World Cup in this embarrassing fashion. Ah well.