Published: Fri, April 21, 2017
Sport | By Fredrick Flores

U.S., Canada, Mexico partner for joint 2026 World Cup bid

Canada, USA and Mexico declared their intention to formally submit a unified bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup on Monday, April 10.

If successful, it would be the first World Cup to be held in three countries and only the second multi-nation tournament following Japan and South Korea in 2002.

That is three years later than originally scheduled because of corruption allegations surrounding the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russian Federation and Qatar.

The announcement was made on the floor of the One World Trade Center in NY on Monday.

Sunil Gulati, US Soccer Federation chief, who announced the bid in NY with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts on Monday, insisted they had the full backing of President Donald Trump, despite the US leader's rocky relations with Mexico.

"To have governmental support is a critical part of a bid". Canada is the only one of the three that has never hosted a World Cup.

When 2026 comes round, there will have been 32 years and seven World Cups since the 1994 one held in the US with Europe (3), Asia (2), Africa (1) and South America (1) having served as host.

Their proposal assumes that there will be 80 games played in the 2026 World Cup.

But he suggested that given the number of quality stadiums in the three countries, "we would generally be in favour of more venues than less". Just months removed from the issuing of President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban on those seeking to enter the United States from predominantly Muslim countries, Trump has continued to be involved in a longstanding feud over funding the construction of a wall at the U.S. -Mexico border.

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Should the CONCACAF bid be awarded the hosting rights, organizers will need to determine if all three nations receive an automatic qualification for the tournament. But FIFA hasn't yet ruled on that for this joint bid, which means Canada might still have to go through the CONCACAF qualifying process in order to play at the 2026 World Cup.

Gulati also said President Donald Trump is "fully supportive" of the bid, which still needs approval from Federation Internationale de Football Association.

An expanded tournament to 48 teams, Gianni Infantino's encouragement for a return to co-hosting and the re-establishment of rotation.

It is worth noting that because of U.S. Presidential term limits, President Trump will not be the current president by the time the 2026 World Cup takes place.

Both the United States of America (1994) and Mexico (1970 and 1986) have hosted the World Cup before.

"The president of the United States is fully supportive and encouraged us to have this joint bid", Gulati said. "This will be an extraordinarily successful World Cup on financial and economic grounds".

European and Asian countries are ineligible from bidding on the 2026 World Cup, so the CONCACAF-led bid is considered the likely choice to land the tournament. The United States and Mexico are perennial qualifiers but Canada have only reached the finals once - back in 1986.

However the prospect of a fresh American bid gathered momentum in 2014 after the World Cup in Brazil. Mexico has hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986. Host nations will now be chosen by polling all 211 Federation Internationale de Football Association members nations, not just the executive board.

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