US, Mexico, Canada launch bid for soccer's 2026 World Cup

Ross Houston
April 24, 2017

Mexico hosted the 1970 and 1986 World Cups while the 1994 tournament was held in the USA and remains the most highly attended World Cup ever.

The bid, which U.S. Soccer chief Sunil Gulati said has the support of President Donald Trump, aims to be the first World Cup to have three host countries. With Russia hosting the 2018 edition, FIFA's rotational policy means European and Asian countries can not bid to host the tournament in 2026, meaning the joint bid might only have to contend with bids from South America, Africa or Oceania.

"This is extraordinary place this building means a lot", said Sunil Gulati, the head of US Soccer said, as he was seated on the dais between Victor Montagliani, the president of Canada's federation and the head of CONCACAF, and Decio de Maria, the leader of Mexico's federation.

Announcing the bid, USA chief Gulati said three quarters of the tournament's matches would be staged in the United States, with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 games each. Federation Internationale de Football Association has said it "defined a set of principles for countries to bid" with new emphasis on human rights compliance and inclusion of only bidders that meet technical requirements. Trump "is especially pleased that Mexico is a part of this bid", Gulati said. Everything from deciding which cities and stadiums will host matches - all three countries will have to decide how many matches go to each nation and who gets the glamour matches like the opener and final - to the transportation, scheduling and infrastructure will have to be determined.

The composition of the FIFA-organised event will also change in 2026 with a new 48-nation field, playing 80 matches.

CONCACAF is in line to receive six qualification spots for the expanded World Cup, meaning only three automatic places would remain available if the US, Canada and Mexico are succesful.

Monday's announcement confirmed what has always been regarded as an open secret amongst FIFA-watchers: that a bid from the North America region for 2026 was inevitable. Under the proposal three-quarters of the games, 60 in all, would be played in the US.

According to FIFA's timeline, a decision is supposed to come in May of 2020.

"Teams who qualify for a World Cup need to have access to the country, otherwise there is no World Cup", Infantino said. And since the 2014 World Cup, El Tri has played 27 times in the United States compared to only eight times in Mexico, regularly filling large National Football League stadiums with fans paying in US dollars rather than Mexican pesos.

Mexico has hosted the tournament twice - in 1970 and 1986, while Canada hosted the women's World Cup in 2015. The United States also played host for the 1993 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cups.

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