By Paul Nicholson
April 14 – South American confederation CONMEBOL has pledged the votes of its 10 member associations to the United 2026 bid (Canada, Mexico and the US). Their announcement gives the North Americans a timely boost with FIFA’s 2026 bid evaluation committee having just completed their four-city tour of North America, and now heading to bid rival Morocco.
“The countries in the Americas share many historical ties and our conviction is that South American football can and should contribute to the development of football in all of the American hemisphere, recognising the sport as a powerful uniting force,” said a CONMEBOL statement.
The United bid already has the support of the seven-member (six votes) Central American sub-confederation UNCAF. Saudi Arabia has also said it will back.
To win the bid 104 votes are needed. The United 2026 bid will be hoping that the 25 fellow CONCACAF members in the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) will form a solid block supporting them. Until recent FIFA elections the CFU has found political strength in that block, though that unity has been split over the past two years.
Two Caribbean islands, through government officials, have said they will be supporting Morocco – St Lucia and Domenica. The reality of the vote on June 13 in Moscow at the FIFA Congress could well see the football officials voting differently to their government’s position.
There is little doubt however that the heavy handed approach by the North Americans (through their dominance of CONCACAF post the corruption scandals of 2015) and their manipulation of the politics in the region, has not won them the automatic and unequivocal support they would have hoped for.
The United 2026 organisers were swift to thank CONMEBOL for their support, saying in a statement: “The United Bid of Canada, Mexico and the United States is grateful for today’s endorsement by CONMEBOL, the confederation representing ten South American member associations,” the United Bid said in a press release.
“This announcement builds on the support of UNCAF’s six voting member associations that the United Bid was honored to receive in March. We look forward to continuing our conversations with Member Associations around the world, highlighting the operational and economic certainty of our bid for the entire FIFA family.”
Next week Morocco will be the focus of attention as the 2026 bid inspectors visit Marrakech, Agadir, Tangier and Casablanca.
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