Sci-tech

US, Mexico and Canada announce 2026 World Cup bid

US, Mexico and Canada announce 2026 World Cup bid

A joint bid among Canada, Mexico and the United States has emerged to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup it was announced Monday from a press conference at the Freedom Tower in NY.

North America hasn't played host since the US held the event in 1994 and drew nearly 3.6 million people to stadiums across the country - still a World Cup record despite the fact that only 24 nations competed at the time.

All three countries carry World Cup host experience with Mexico hosting the competition in 1970 and 1986, while Canada held the highly-successful 2015 FIFA Women's Cup.

The 2026 tournament will be the first to feature an expanded 48-nation field and the proposal will see the United States host 60 games, with 10 each in Canada and Mexico.

In 2010, the United States lost in bids to host the 2018 (Russia) and '22 (Qatar) World Cups, a process discredited by corruption allegations linked to the bidding.

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"We could host the tournament on our own", United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati said.

If the US, Canada, and Mexico replicated that model, then group games and early knockout rounds would be played in signature stadiums in key host cities involving all three nations. Canada hosted the 2007 U-20 World Cup, the 2015 Women's World Cup, and is the only G-8 country to have never hosted the World Cup.

The 2026 tournament, whose host is due to be decided by Federation Internationale de Football Association in 2020, will be the first using FIFA's expanded format. In that time, every other continent will have hosted the World Cup, including Europe three times and Asia twice. The World Cup field will expand from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, meaning there will be 16 more games played.

The semi-finals would likely take place at stadiums like the 87,000 capacity Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and the 60,000 seater Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

Far from impeding a World Cup bid, souring diplomatic relations between the United States and Mexico emboldened those country's soccer leaders to find common ground through pursing one of the biggest events in sports.

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Gulati attempted to deflect questions about a tournament involving the USA and Mexico amid President Trump's harsh words toward America's southern neighbor, saying that Trump had given his backing to the proposal and was "especially pleased that Mexico was a part of this bid".

On that occasion, both nations were granted qualification to the tournament as hosts, as is tradition.

He played down the possibility that politics could hamper the bid, emphasising that Trump was "especially pleased" with Mexico's involvement. Federation Internationale de Football Association barred Europe and Asia from entering the 2026 race because those continents will have hosted the previous two tournaments.

There are no shortage of stadiums that would be a capable World Cup venue. All matches from the quarter-finals onwards would be in the U.S. Canada and Mexico would each host 10.

All three countries have a number of stadiums, now holding American football or soccer, that could work as venues, in addition to tourist infrastructure such as hotels and transportation.

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