September 10 – The host city selection process for the 2026 World Cup moves on a stage next week with FIFA beginning its inspection visits September 15-23.
The first round of visits will see nine US candidate cities inspected in nine days, starting in Miami and finishing in Boston.
US cities visited in the first round will be Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington DC, Baltimore, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami.
The remaining eight US bidding cities and the three in Mexico and two in Canada will be visited by the end of November, said FIFA.
The host venue bidding has become increasingly intense with 17 US cities vying for what had initially believed to be 10 city slots in the US. It had been generally accepted that three venues in Canada and three in Mexico would round out the required 16 host cities for the expanded 48-team World Cup in 2026.
That arithmetic became complicated with the pull out of Montreal in Canada from the host bidding, leaving just Edmonton and Toronto bidding. There was a rumour that Vancouver would be a late entrant to the bidding but that hasn’t happened.
Behind the scenes US cities had lobbied for an increase in the number of US host venues to fill the perceived gap left by Montreal’s pull out. However, the actual location of matches is based on the number of games to be played in each country rather than the number of host cities.
World Cup 2026 will have 80 matches. The agreement for the hosting is for 60 of those games to be played in the US with 10 each in Mexico and Canada.
FIFA’s inspection team will be led by FIFA Vice-President and Concacaf President Victor Montagliani and include Colin Smith, FIFA Chief Tournaments & Events Officer as well as “FIFA experts across multiple fields, including venue management, stadium and city infrastructure, team facilities, commercial, bidding and legal.”
FIFA said that it aims to finalise the “highly competitive selection process by Q1/Q2 2022.”
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