It has been revealed at the 68th FIFA Congress today, on the eve of the start of the 2018 World Cup, that the joint bid by the USA, Canada and Mexico has won the right to host the 2026 World Cup.
Ultimately, it came down to two bids: Morocco, or the ‘United’ bid. After months of lobbying involving campaign videos, celebrity and political support, stadia and infrastructure concepts, and promises of revenue, the soccer tournament is heading to the three nations where it will be played across stadia in 16 cities that could spread across almost 3,000 miles (4,800km).
The winning bid won by 69 votes, taking 134 of the 203 votes cast, resulting in Morocco missing out on hosting the event at the fifth time of trying. The USA last hosted the World Cup in 1994, while Mexico last hosted the tournament in 1986. It will be first for Canada.
The 2026 tournament will be the biggest World Cup ever with an expansion of teams from 32 to 48, playing 80 matches over a 34-day period. Ten of the 16 host cities will be based in the USA, with 60 matches proposed to be held at venues across the country, including all matches from the quarterfinals to the final, which will be held at the 84,953-capacity MetLife Stadium in New York, home to the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets.
Following controversial decisions to award Russia and Qatar the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, FIFA set out to make this round more transparent, with the voting of each nation being published following the Congress.
The announcement to host the major soccer tournament will come as Major League Soccer (MLS) is expanding like never before. More expansion teams and new stadia are being introduced as fan demand for the sport in the USA is reaching fever pitch. Large capacity venues, new state-of-the-art stadia and infrastructure already in place will have no doubt been an influential factor in the decision, with US Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro previously quoted as saying the bid would generate US$14bn (£10.3bn) in revenue and make an US$11bn (£8.1bn) profit for FIFA.
The English Football Association, who had backed the joint bid, was quoted by the BBC as saying: “We congratulate the USA, Canada and Mexico on winning the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Both bids were of a very high quality and we welcome the fact that the bidding process was both open and transparent.
“We cast our vote for the United bid as we believe the independent technical assessment made its advantages very clear. However, it is important to note that both bids were deemed to have met the hosting requirements and a tournament in Morocco, close to Europe and in a country that loves football, had a great deal for English football fans to be excited about.
“We are confident that the USA, Canada and Mexico will put on a fantastic event and we look forward to the tournament in 2026.”
June 13, 2018