Federation Internationale de Football Association offers three-month timeline for additional 2026 World Cup bids

North America's request for a fast-track award of the 2026 World Cup hosting rights is on hold, for a few months at least.

FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura highlighted the importance of assessing the "nitty gritty" of the hosting plans, even if the North Americans are given a clear path to the 2026 World Cup.

The bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada remains the only proposal so far to host the 2026 event. Europe and Asia can not bid, New Zealand isn't going to bid out of Oceania, South America will gladly wait until 2030 when Uruguay and Argentina are likely to put up a joint bid to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup in Uruguay and except for Morocco, no African nation seems remotely interested in hosting. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the bid plans publicly ahead of FIFA's approval.

The FIFA Council approved the Bureau of the Council's recommended split of the World Cup spots for the 2026 tournament.

"What the administration is concerned about is that the bidding process is free, inclusive and transparent and we will make sure that the highest level of standards are respected and endorsed by anyone who would like to make a proposal to host the World Cup", said Samoura.

FIFA also confirmed that the final two berths will be determined in a six-team intercontinental mini tournament in late 2025 in the FIFA World Cup host nation. "We got what we wanted most". The 2026 World Cup is the first expanded World Cup with 46 teams. However, if the June 2018 FIFA Congress is not satisfied with the bids submitted, they could decide to open bidding to all countries, regardless of region. Asia will have eight, North, Central America and the Caribbean six just as South America, and Oceania one. "The 68th FIFA Congress [June 12-13, 2018 in Moscow] will decide on the selection of the candidate host associations".

The host country would also automatically qualify for the World Cup, and its slot would be taken from the quota of its confederation.

  • Julie Sanders