US, Mexico, Canada bid to co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup

Apr 12, 2017, 01:16
US, Mexico, Canada bid to co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup

Sunil Gulati President of United States Soccer Federation attends a press conference on April 10 at the One World Trade Center in NY.

The news of the joint World Cup bid was met with some resistance in Mexico, nearly entirely because the country - host of the 1970 and 1986 World Cups - was expected to be handed more games.

Federation Internationale de Football Association rules stipulate that no bids will be accepted from Europe and Asia because Russia is staging the World Cup in 2018 while Qatar is set to host the tournament in 2022. The U.S. and Mexico contribute two of the bigger media markets in the world, especially with the ability to host games in prime time, plus a more mature sponsorship environment, Gulati said.

While Canada has never hosted the tournament, and hasn't participated in the World Cup since its lone appearance in 1986.

"We have the full support of the United States government in this project", he said.

Earlier this year, Trump signed directives to begin building a wall along USA border with Mexico and crack down on U.S. cities that shield undocumented immigrants. The North American and South American countries have the sole right to bid for 2026 and 2030 World Cup.

Canada's largest arena is Commonwealth Stadium (56,000) in Edmonton, Alberta, which was renovated ahead of the 2015 Women's World Cup.

And the fact Mexico will help pay for it apparently was enough to get president Donald Trump on board.

Russian Federation will host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar in 2022.

The joint bid was announced on Monday atop the Freedom Tower in lower Manhattan by the heads of the American, Mexican and Canadian federations.

It all adds up to a pretty formidable bid for CONCACAF, though there are still some drawbacks.

Of the nine bids considered for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, the Russian and Qatari proposals entailed the most expensive construction costs and the greatest reliance on new stadiums.

Though it would not be the first time countries have split hosting duties (see: the 2002 World Cup), it would be the first time three have done so. As a consolation, Mexico wants the opener at its 87,000-capacity Azteca Stadium if it becomes the first three-time World Cup host. Yet doubts remain over what impact USA president Donald Trump and the policies of his administration might have on the joint proposal.

"The president of the United States is fully supportive and encouraged us to have this joint bid", Gulati said.

All World Cup bids must be submitted by December 2018. All matches from the quarter-finals onward will be played in the US. But FIFA hasn't yet ruled on that for this joint bid, which means Canada might still have to go through the CONCACAF qualifying process in order to play at the 2026 World Cup. And while Trump would not be in office in 2026, he may well be in charge still when the vote takes place in May 2020.

Host nations have always been given an automatic berth at the World Cup.