September 24 – FIFA has completed its first round of visits to 2026 World Cup host city candidates, with inspections of Boston, Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington DC, Baltimore, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia and Miami.
FIFA vice-president and Concacaf president Victor Montagliani led the world federation’s delegation. In a statement FIFA said that “during every visit, the FIFA delegation held meetings with a variety of stakeholders, including city and stadium authorities, as well as football clubs and other sports organisations, while covering key topics like venue management, infrastructure, sustainability and commercial, legal and legacy matters.”
The 2026 World Cup will be the first global finals in an expanded 48-team format, with the tournament expected to be hosted across sixteen venues.
The remaining eight US bidding cities and the three in Mexico and two in Canada will be visited by the end of November.
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.
Montagliani said: “The FIFA World Cup 2026 will be an absolute milestone in football history and all the cities we have visited are fully aware of it. We would like to thank them all for their tremendous work, commitment and passion as they would not only like to offer an amazing event for the whole world but also leave a fond legacy far beyond 2026.”
The global health crisis delayed FIFA’s original timeline for selection and inspections of the remaining US bidding venues, as well as those in Canada and Mexico, will be completed by the end of November with the global governing body expected to pick the host cities in the first half of 2022.
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