US, Canada & Mexico make a joint bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup

The United States along with Canada and Mexico announced on 10 April 2017 that they will be making a joint bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. If approved, it would be the first time that the World Cup would be shared by three hosts. It would also be the first tournament that would see 48 teams participating instead of the earlier 32. The proposal includes the US to host 60 matches and Canada and Mexico to host 10 each. The final decision on who will host the event will be made in 2020.

The chosen date is three years later than originally scheduled because of the corruption scandal surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World cup bids, which are by Russia and Qatar respectively. FIFA would be establishing a shortlist of bidders before the 209 member nations of FIFA who will cast a vote to decide the winner of the bid. The USA hosted the 1994 World cup where the tournament saw its highest average attendance. Mexico too has hosted the event previously that too twice in 1970 and 1986. Canada hosted the 2015 women’s World Cup. The joint bid comes at a time when the relationship between Mexico and the United States is strained with the new US President, Donald Trump, vowing to build a wall on the US-Mexican border.

Speaking on the bid, Sunil Gulati, the US Soccer President stated that while initially, they were looking to bid alone, they decided, in the end, to bid along with their partners in North America. In fact, he added that President Trump has been fully supportive and encouraging to have this joint bid and is especially pleased that Mexico is a part of it. The tournament will begin with its new look with an initial round of 16 three-team groups, with 32 qualifiers going through to the knockout stage.

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