U.S., Mexico, Canada to jointly host 2026 World Cup

United 2026 Wins Rights to Host FIFA 2026 World Cup

United 2026 Wins Rights to Host FIFA 2026 World Cup

News broke this morning that Canada has won the bid to host the next World Cup in 2026.

Starting in 2026, there will be 16 groups of three teams, with the top two teams in the group advancing into the expanded round-of-32 knockout stages.

The 2026 tournament will be the first to have 48 teams.

The bid process was not easy. It is competing against a bid from Morocco. President Trump's denigration of immigrants from Africa, Asia, and the Americas rattled voters from those countries.

United 2026, in an effort to dispel the notion that is largely a US campaign, replaced chairman Sunil Gulati, former president of the United States Soccer Federation, with co-chairs from each of the three nations.

In the end, the vote swung North America's way by a comfortable margin. Everything I went through as a player over the years - the ups and downs, the heartache, the injuries, the disappointments, the bouncing back from really hard times - it was all for that jersey.

That suggests that North American bid leaders' promises to deliver a record $11 billion profit for the 2026 tournament are feasible. In addition, the United Bid has 150 existing world-class training facilities, millions of hotel rooms, and advanced infrastructure.

Morocco, which has now lost five bid campaigns, was classy in defeat - congratulating the North American winners.

That vote took place under the old system, where only a few dozen Federation Internationale de Football Association executives decided which countries would receive hosting rights in a process that was the epitome of backroom dealing. If that was a nudge in North America's direction, well, the bid team wasn't complaining. American soccer officials downplayed the influence of politics on the bid. While this bid race wasn't marred by the bribery that Qatar used eight years ago to beat the United States to the 2022 World Cup, there was still plenty of skepticism.

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Mr. Cordeiro also said that political tension is something that can not be managed in a World Cup bid. After a slew of high-profile arrests in 2015, however, as well as the still-ongoing investigations into football-related corruption by the U.S. Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies around the world, the World Cup bidding process was overhauled, and now features each of FIFA's eligible member nations casting a public vote.

But that could change after Wednesday's vote when Federation Internationale de Football Association takes over the tournament planning.

Of the 211 Fifa member nations, 200 cast a vote at the 68th Fifa Congress in Moscow on Wednesday, with the winning bid needing a majority of 104.

That includes South and Central America, which has made a decision to vote as a bloc.

Morocco had lots of backing from Africa, obviously, and European countries with cultural ties.

One delegate voted for none of the bids.

The combined North American bid of the United States, Mexico and Canada was awarded the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Wednesday, moving Baltimore one step closer toward possibly hosting a match in the quadrennial soccer competition. That's the spirit of the World Cup, the attractive game transcends borders and cultures.

Expect soccer's rapid growth in the United States to become even faster now.

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