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Miami could lose World Cup bid over FIFA demands at airport

MiamiHerald / Miami risks losing its chance to serve as a World Cup city over the soccer tournament’s demands for contractual protections at Miami International Airport — including a provision that any disputes be resolved by arbitration in Zurich, Switzerland.

A memo from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said Miami-Dade could be disqualified as a potential World Cup city in 2026 if the county doesn’t sign the contract required by FIFA, the Swiss-based parent organization behind the global soccer tournament.

The dispute revolves around FIFA requirements that MIA cover unexpected expenses tied to the airport accommodating World Cup travelers and promoting the event, including special advertising deals within the county-owned facility and setting up hospitality areas. Should any of those requirements result in conflicts between Miami-Dade and FIFA, county officials would need to head to Zurich, home to the FIFA headquarters, and resolve them in arbitration procedures governed by Swiss law, according to Gimenez’s memo.

“The County has clearly expressed to all involved that such requirements are not acceptable,” Gimenez wrote in the memo released this week.

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