Gov. Phil Murphy turned down President Joe Biden’s offer to be part of the U.S. delegation to attend the closing ceremonies of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on Sunday, the New Jersey Globe has leaned.
The invitation is another signal of the increasingly close relationship between Biden and Murphy, who chairs both the National Governors Association and the Democratic Governors Association. Murphy attended a state dinner Biden held this month in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron.
Murphy, an avid soccer fan, was asked to be part of a five-member delegation that includes U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis, White House National Security Council official Amanda Mansour, former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Claudio Reyna, and the co-chairs of the Congressional Soccer Caucus, Rick Larsen (D-Washington) and Darrin LaHood (R-Illinois). The two-term governor and former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, who had minor surgery last week, will remain in New Jersey instead of making the 12-hour flight to Qatar crossing nine time zones.
FIFA announced in June that New Jersey and New York would be among sixteen places in North America to host the 2026 World Cup. New Jersey is competing to be the venue for the final game.