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World Cup bid strategy: Infantino says 2026 is ‘nice’ and points to a shared-host future

By Andrew Warshaw

June 21 – As Morocco continues to digest being crushed in its bid to stage the 2026 World Cup (as well being the unluckiest team at the World Cup), Gianni Infantino has given the biggest hint yet that he supported the winning north American bid.

The FIFA president doesn’t have a vote but can still wield considerable influence behind the scenes and Infantino was understood to have personally favoured United 2026, with its gigantic financial jackpot, over the underdogs

A few hours after the vote in Moscow, Infantino was asked whether a single nation still has the capacity to stage an expanded 48-team World Cup on its own. His reply gave a strong indication of where his preference lay during the ballot.

“To have a message that Mexico, Canada and the United States together can organise the biggest sporting event in the world is a nice message,” Infantino told reporters. “That’s something we have to be happy for.”

He continued: “One of the points we put in place is that we are open to co-hosting. With the World Cup taking place only every four years, it’s a pity that it takes place only in one country.”

“I don’t think it’s an issue to co-host because we need to be responsible and look at sustainable development and what a World Cup leaves.”

Such remarks seem bound to infuriate the Moroccan bid campaign team for whom legacy was a strong part of their platform.

But Infantino, who has announced he is standing for a second term next year, indicated that in future shared World Cups would likely be the norm. “Maybe World Cup hosts can benefit from one, two, three or four (countries) which will help boost their football.”

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