Montagliani stakes claim to 3 automatic slots at 2026 North American World Cup

March 27 – If the United States, Canada and Mexico jointly bid for the 2026 World Cup and are successful, all three should be allowed automatic berths in the competition according to the region’s top administrator.

CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani (pictured) told The Associated Press that continental bodies should decide how to allocate their quota of World Cup entries.

“I don’t think we should be dictating how a confederation allocates their slots from a hosting standpoint. That’s up to them,” Montagliani said.

It is unclear whether FIFA would guarantee direct entry to multiple hosts even though FIFA President Gianni Infantino has encouraged multi-nation bids for an expanded 48-team World Cup. UEFA recently decided to limit direct qualification to a maximum of two co-hosts for their 24-team European Championship.

Infantino is due to meets Montagliani and the five other confederation presidents at a FIFA Bureau meeting in Zurich when World Cup slots could be discussed.

Montagliani has also apparently held talks with his South American counterparts about staging another joint Copa America after the successful 2016 Centenario event.

How would that affect the Gold Cup, traditionally CONCACAF’s blue riband event played every two years?

“Do we really need it (the Gold Cup)?” Montagliani asked. “Is it just clogging the calendar for the players?”

After the turmoil of recent years, CONCACAF will hold its annual assembly on April 8 with a new spirit of optimism, Montagliani says.

“There is unity in CONCACAF. We have delivered on everything we said,” said Montagliani, the body’s fourth president since 2011, his three predecessors have all been caught up in football’s corruption scandal.

Montagliani, who chairs the new football stakeholders committee, said that the international calendar and the transfer system are among the initial priorities for a body which brings together representatives of the players, clubs and leagues.

“Everybody understands that if people are coming to the committee with a zero sum game mentality, nobody is going to win,” he said.

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