Real Betis defender Hector Bellerin is perhaps one of the more well-versed soccer players in the world. The Spaniard is a quality player in a solid team in one of the top European leagues. However, he also has interests in a series of other ventures as well.

During his time with Premier League club Arsenal, Bellerin became a significant shareholder of Forest Green Rovers. The now League Two side is currently one of the leading teams across the continent on environmental and sustainability concerns. The defender also previously pledged to plant 3,000 trees for every Arsenal victory following the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Along with environmental causes, Bellerin also freely discusses politics and social issues as well. The right-back was invited to speak at the prestigious Oxford Union in 2021. The discussion covered a plethora of notable topics. Other high-profile celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Diego Maradona previously made appearances with the group.

Bellerin claims soccer is becoming more ‘elitist’ ahead of 2026 World Cup

Bellerin now recently sat down to conduct a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with BBC Sport. While he was asked a series of questions, the defender made interesting comments regarding FIFA and the 2026 World Cup. Bellerin claimed that the governing body is focusing solely on money, rather than the actual fans.

“Football every day is more about margins, about can we make more money and less about the people that support it and the people that truly make football great,” Bellerin told the news outlet.

As far as the 2026 World Cup itself, the defender does not like how spread out the tournament will be. The competition is set to be co-hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. “It is becoming every day something more elitist, in my opinion, and having it in three different countries makes it more difficult for fans to follow their nation,” continued the Betis star.

“We are losing a little bit of the essence of what football truly is and who are the people that actually make football, which is the people who follow us and watch us every weekend.”

“I understand that football, like every single industry, needs to modernize itself to be able to follow changes in society, but sometimes it can’t go that far.”

Average fans will find travel costly at the upcoming tournament

Bellerin certainly has a point about the sheer distance between the host cities of the upcoming World Cup. Traveling from Vancouver to Miami, both host areas of the tournament, would be over 3,000 total miles one way. This is the same distance as London is from Baghdad.

The lengthy distance does not, however, mean that larger countries such as the United States cannot host a World Cup. Nevertheless, central fixtures in the later knockout rounds could lower overall costs for fans.

The current round of 16 fixtures are in Vancouver, Mexico City, New Jersey and several places in between. The average fan of a team potentially wanting to travel all over these areas could not afford to make the trips.

Money, however, as Bellerin alluded to in the interview, certainly motivates FIFA’s final decisions. This was evident in the organization moving the entire tournament’s schedule to accommodate Qatar in 2022.