The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in the United States (plus Canada, and Mexico)! The pan-North American bid was chosen over Morocco in a decision announced by world soccer officials in Moscow this morning.
As The Guardian reports, on the eve of the 2018 edition of the once-every-four-years tournament, FIFA’s congress voted 134-65 to award the hosting rights to a unified bid by the three North American nations.
In making their final pleas before the congress in advance of the final vote, the Moroccan delegation took a thinly-veiled jab at the United States, telling the voting members that their nation had a ban on weapons and would not hike up ticket prices. Representing the pan-North American bid was a 17-year-old Liberian boy who made his way to Canada.
“In Canada, they’ve welcomed me and I know they’ll welcome you.”
In the end, it was the soccer infrastructure that titled the voters in favor of the North American bid. Morocco would have to renovate, or build from the ground up, all 14 stadiums that would have hosted matches. The USA, Canada, and Mexico are filled to the brim with stadiums. Although due to the huge crowds expected for the tournament, the American matches will almost certainly be held in NFL or college football stadiums rather than the considerably-smaller soccer-specific, Major League Soccer (MLS) stadiums.
As reported by the Inquisitr, the bid accepted by FIFA would have 60 of the scheduled 80 matches played in the United States, with Canada and Mexico each hosting 10.
Officials at FIFA have the next eight years to work out which matches will be played where, and indeed, which cities will even host matches. As ESPN reports, the most likely scenario is that 10 U.S. cities will host matches, and three Canadian and three Mexican cities will host. In the U.S., New York’s MetLife Stadium will almost certainly host the final, while major coastal cities such as Miami and Los Angeles will almost certainly host games as well. In the nation’s center, Kansas City, Dallas, and Denver are all in the mix. Oddly enough, Chicago, which hosted the opening match for the 1994 FIFA World Cup (which was held entirely within the United States), and which has an MLS team (the Chicago Fire), has opted out of the 2026 tournament. In Canada, the likely host cities are Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto; and the likely Mexican host cities are Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara.