June 13th, 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada were awarded the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This will be the first time since 1994 that the iconic soccer event will be held on the North American continent.
Since 2017, the United States, Mexican, and Canadian soccer officials formed an alliance to overcome the tensions caused by current President Trump and his trade regulations. The alliance was formed to help push for a FIFA World Cup. Morocco was the biggest competitor for the 2026 games but lost the vote in a 134-65 landslide victory that favored the North American continent.
The 3 countries and soccer allies will now have to plan for the event and a 48-team tournament. The details are still being worked out, but it is expected that there will be 16 venues for the soccer matches, most of them in the US. This will be the first time the FIFA World Cup tournament will be hosted by 3 separate but connected countries. The soccer allies are hoping to send a powerful message of unity to other nations across the world and to the US government.
The only thing shocking about these allies is that they are banded by sports at a time the nations’ leaders are all fighting with each other over trade. President Trump recently unleashed new tariffs on Canada and tweeted derogatory comments about the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Besides the tariff and twitter beef, Trump has been supportive of the joint FIFA bid. He even tweeted about it, saying congratulations to the US, Mexican, and Canadian efforts.
The FIFA bid helped heal the wounds from the last bid when the US lost the bid to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. It also helped ease the sting of the USA not making the cut for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. The winning bid helps set the United States up for several major sporting events coming in the 2020’s. As of now, the US has 2026 FIFA World Cup, 2027 FIFA Women’s Cup, and the 2028 Olympic Games (Los Angeles).
The Mexican President has said that the decision to bid for a joint World Cup proved that the 3 countries are deeply united. He also went on to state that the decision to allow Mexico to hold the FIFA World Cup proves that the international game has confidence in their organizational skills, the quality of its infrastructure and the services it offers. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent out his joy on twitter saying, “It’s going to be a great tournament”.
Even though the National governments didn’t get involved with the bid, it was important for the allies to have support from the White House as it was a swaying factor to why they got the bid. Federal support is essential as the events will bring fans from all over the world. The multiple games also bring in a lot of revenue and fans and players will have to be shuttled around the country.
The agreement reached by the North American allies includes 80 matches, 60 of which will be held in the US. Mexico and Canada will have 10 matches each, but this could change given that FIFA has the final say.
23 cities are listed as potential World Cup hosting cites but this could also change since the decision won’t be made for another 2 years. The possible cities that could host events are as followed:
- Mexico – Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara
- Canada – Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto
- USA – Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Cincinnati, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston
Canada has never hosted a men’s World Cup, but Mexico has hosted the men’s World Cup twice (1970, 1986). The US has only hosted the men’s World Cup once in 1994, and the women’s World Cup twice (1999, 2003).
It is likely that the US won the bid because of the increased interest in the sport of soccer over the past few years. It could also be because of the quality and quantity of high-performance soccer stadiums. The US also has the means of transporting thousands of people from overseas relatively easily. Whatever the reason, the allies are hoping this event can unite the 3 countries and deliver an amazing World Cup in an effort to win future FIFA bids.