Canada, US And Mexico Launch Bid To Co-Host 2026 World Cup
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 13, 2017,
Apr 13, 2017, 11:39
U.S. President Donald Trump's plan to build a wall between his country and Mexico was seen as a potential obstacle in terms of cooperation between the two countries in hosting the 2026 World Cup.
Victor Montagliani, left, President of the Canadian Soccer Association, Sunil Gulati, center, President of the United States Soccer Federation, and Decio de Maria, President of the Mexican Football Federation, arrive for a news conference, Monday in NY. No other country has even shown that they are close to launching a bid, with general interest from Uruguay the furthest along that any other nation has come to joining the race. "He is fully supportive of the joint bid, encouraged the joint bid, and is especially pleased with the fact Mexico is participating".
If the regional effort wins out, the US would host 60 matches, including everything from the quarterfinals on, while the other two countries would stage 10 apiece.
Mexico hosted the 1970 and 1986 World Cups while the 1994 tournament was held in the US and remains the most highly attended World Cup ever.
As multiple countries try to outbid each other to host the World Cup every four years, a group of countries is working together to bring the most-watched sporting event in the world back to North America. At present, there is no rival bid but the European and Asian federations are restricted from bidding due to their hosting duties for the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 respectively.
Mexico will push to kick off the 32-day tournament at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City, which hosted the final in 1970 and 1986.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first to feature 48 teams and 80 games. That leaves Africa and South America as the only possible challengers to a CONCACAF bid.
The North American nations are seeking to bring the World Cup back to the region for the first time since 1994 when the USA was the sole host.
Although Gulati made the case that any of the nations could have individually hosted the expanded 48-team tournament, the Federation Internationale de Football Association council member laid out the rationale for setting the stage for the first World Cup to be hosted by three countries.
U.S. and Mexico have previously hosted the tournament separately, with the United States doing so in 1994 and Mexico staging 1970 and 1986. By contrast, a USA proposal to host the 2022 tournament called for the construction of no new stadiums and would have permitted roughly two million more spectators to attend the games due to its reliance on larger, existing facilities.
"Don't think for a moment that the political climate in the United States didn't impact this", former US defender Alexi Lalas, now a Fox analyst, said Sunday. The United States would host all knockout games from the quarter-finals onwards, he added. The only jointly hosted edition of the event remains the 2002 tournament in South Korea and Japan. Politics aside, a multi-nation World Cup will present logistical challenges for both organizers and governments.
In some ways, the growth of soccer in Canada hinges on the success of the mega-bid, which will be voted on by or before 2020. Cities that have hosted recent World Cups and Olympics have been left with abandoned facilities and enormous debt.