Atlanta is proposed as a host city site for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The news comes as a part of a unprecedented three nation bid to concurrently host the FIFA World Cup. The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) members, Mexico, Canada, and the United States formed the United Bid Committee in pursuance of the historic opportunity. The trio of North American nations are an early favorite to win the bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The North American union of nations seeking to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup would be the first time three nations have hosted the event simultaneously.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup was hosted jointly by the nations of Japan and South Korea.
Dan Corso, President of the Atlanta Sports Council, confirmed that the United Bid Committee contacted Atlanta to be a host site as a part of the bid process. Atlanta’s profile in the soccer world has been bolstered by the success of the Atlanta United FC in their inaugural season competing in Major League Soccer (MLS). The team is currently in position to make the playoffs as a fifth seed in the eastern conference of the MLS.
The Atlanta United FC lead the MLS in attendance, as they average 46,000 attendees per game. The attendance totals for the Atlanta United FC is also higher than any NBA, NHL, or MLB franchise. Atlanta’s new found perception around the world as a soccer city is perceived as a boost to the bidding process by the United Bid Committee.
Atlanta United FC President Darren Eales is hopeful that the $1.5 billion newly built Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a viable option to the host 2026 FIFA World Cup championship match.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati told ESPN’s Boy Ley that he believes the trio nation bid “enhances and increases the likelihood that we get the world cup. We’ve bid before and were unsuccessful, as you know.” Atlanta was also considered as a host city for the failed U.S. bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup that was awarded to Qatar.
Geopolitical complications stemming from the respective wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen has Qatar on the brink of war itself. This seriously jeopardizes Qatar’s ability to adequately prepare for and host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Gulati told Ley the following.
“The rationale is actually pretty simple. We think the U.S., Canada, and Mexico in this case, are well suited—well suited not only for our own countries, but to put on a spectacular World Cup that is economically viable without a lot of new infrastructure for FIFA. So it’s a huge plus for FIFA. Avoids all of the issues that have come up in previous bids.”
Morocco is the only other confirmed rival seeking to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
In the event of a successful bid by the North American union of nations, the United States will host 60 games, Mexico 10 games, and Canada 10 games. The 2026 edition will be the first FIFA World Cup featuring 48 teams, an increase from the customary 32 team format. FIFA will make the final decision on the 2026 host nation in May 2020.
Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host Super Bowl LIII, the NCAA Final Four, and College Football Playoffs National Championship game in the next few years.
[Featured Image by David Goldman/AP Images]