February 16 – FIFA president Gianni Infantino says multiple hosting of the World Cup can work perfectly well and that 2026, when the process is likely to start, could even be staged by up to four neighbouring countries.
Speaking in Qatar after a summit meeting with Asian federations, Infantino said FIFA would even encourage applications to co-host “because we need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term.”
“(We could) …maybe bring together two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each,” Infantino added. “We will certainly encourage it.”
That will be music to the ears of the United States, Canada and Mexico who may well decide to put forward a joint bid with perhaps a central American nation thrown into that mix.
“Ideally, the countries will be close to each other for the sake of ease of travel,” said Infantino.
At the end of last year Victor Montagliani, president of CONCACAF, said he expected formal discussions to start once “all the rules and regulations” related to the bid were announced.
The only time FIFA has previously sanctioned co-hosting was in 2002 when Japan and South Korea were organisers.
In Europe, the concept has been around for years, with Belgium and the Netherlands co-hosting in 2000, Austria and Switzerland in 2008 and Poland and Ukraine in 2012. The next tournament in 2020 has been designated as Pan-European and is due to be staged in 13 cities across the Continent.
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