It was revealed on Monday that the United States, Mexico, and Canada are planning to move forward with a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup.
There had been previous discussion that the three countries would collaborate on an effort to host the 2026 World Cup. It was confirmed during a press conference at the Freedom Tower on Monday that the United States, Mexico, and Canada will indeed work together on the bid, setting the stage for what will be an interesting story to follow as the bidding process plays out.
Mexico has hosted the World Cup twice on its own, having been selected to stage the event in 1970 and 1986. The United States took its first–and to date only–turn at hosting the World Cup in 1994, while Canada has never staged the Men’s World Cup. It did, however, host the Women’s World Cup in 2015.
In World Cup history, joint bids that proved to be successful are rare but not unprecedented. The only edition of the World Cup to have been hosted in two separate countries was in 2002, which was played in both Japan and South Korea. A final selection is not expected to be made until 2020 and, while there have been numerous questions in recent months about relations between the United States and Mexico, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulat said that the U.S. is fully behind the bid. More from ESPN FC:
All bids must be submitted to FIFA by December of 2018. The bids will be evaluated over the next 15 months, with that phase being completed by February of 2020. The host or hosts will be chosen in May 2020, before the next U.S. presidential election.
Gulati said U.S. President Donald Trump was “fully supportive and encouraged us” to pursue the joint bid within the last few days, and was “especially pleased” to learn Mexico would be involved.
The national federations’ plans come amid President Trump’s call for a wall to be built along the Mexican border and signing of executive orders — since stopped by courts — banning immigration and travel from multiple countries.
Mexico federation president Decio de Maria said in a statement: “If we are selected to host, it will be an honor to welcome everyone with open arms.”
As proposed on Monday, the United States would the bulk of the games if the bid is successful. A total of 60 games would be played on U.S. soil, while Mexico and Canada would each host 10 games. A previous decision by the FIFA council allows the 2026 World Cup to be played in an expanded 48-team, 80-game format.