The United States, Mexico, and Canada may team up for a joint 2026 World Cup bid, as officials are exploring various possibilities.
The soccer scene in all three countries is on the right track, and Canada’s soccer culture seemed to become more vibrant in 2016. This was reflected, in part, by the success of the country’s three MLS squads, as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver posted strong attendance figures in 2016. On top of that, there have been signs of increased television ratings for the sport, as well as more youth participation, and plans for developing the Canadian Premier League.
The country, which hosted the 2015 Women’s World Cup, is now considering its bid for the 2026 World Cup. One scenario calls for it to take part in a joint bid, which would also include the United States and Canada.
Combining the three countries is being considered, because none of the countries within the CONCACAF region have hosted the World Cup since the United States in 1994. It is also coming down to crunch time for all three countries, regardless of whether they choose to engage in a joint bid or put together packages of their own.
According to Canadian Soccer Association president and CONCACAF president-elect Victor Montagliani, some key decisions could be made in the coming weeks and months. More from The Toronto Sun:
“We’ve already started (our bid) in a soft way,” Montagliani told the Toronto Sun before Christmas.
“We’ll find out more in January what this thing is going to look like. We have to make a decision thereafter from a CONCACAF perspective whether there will be three bids or joint bids or what it’s going to look like.”
On Wednesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino told the Dubai International Sports Conference that World Cup ’26 almost certainly will be expanded to as many as 48 teams.
“I think it’s about time to move again,” said Infantino, who was flanked on stage by Montagliani. “I don’t know what the future will bring 20 years from now.
The World Cup has not been awarded to multiple countries since 2002, when it was jointly hosted by Japan and South Korea. That marked the only time that multiple countries have shared the event and, there have been some doubts ever since about whether a joint bid would be accepted again. However, it seems to be an option as officials plan for 2026.
Image courtesy Montreal Impact.