Friday, 16 November, 2018

US, Mexico and Canada win race to host 2026 World Cup

Shannon Reynolds | 13 June, 2018, 23:15

The United States, Canada and Mexico have been selected as the host nations for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

The decision was revealed at the FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday. The U.S. proposed to host 60 out of the 80 matches, leaving Canada and Mexico with 10 fixtures each.

Potential commercial opportunities, practical legal hurdles involved with throwing a huge event in three separate, large countries and a litany of other questions must be answered in the buildup to the 2026 tournament, which will be the first World Cup to feature an expanded field of 48 teams.

The "United" bid, that will see 60 of the tournament's games held in the US, with Canada and Mexico getting 10 each, beat out the underdog campaign of Morocco to bring soccer's biggest show back to American soil. The final will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, home to the National Football League's New York Giants and New York Jets.

Under Trump, relations between the United States, Canada and Mexico have plumbed new lows thanks to disputes in the renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, a $1.1 trillion trade pact that ties the three countries' economies together and which Trump has said should be scrapped.

Canada and Mexico have already named its three host cities. "This is a reward for our unwavering belief and commitment to the growth of soccer, and we will continue to make major strides over the next eight years to ensure that we stage an unforgettable World Cup".

With the breakdown of voting results made public, the United bid claimed 134 votes, with 64 giving their support to Morocco and one country voting for neither bid. "If we do that, we have to do a good job of making sure that folks locally can go to those games, the practices, the qualifiers - all of it". Like Canada, Japan had previously qualified for only one World Cup.

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Of the 16 host cities, 10 will be in the United States while the remainder will be split evenly between Canada and Mexico. Putin said this while welcoming delegates from more than 200 countries at the FIFA Congress at Moscow's Expocentre.

Because they are all hosting, the Canada, U.S. and Mexico teams will all automatically qualify for the tournament.

In a final presentation to the assembly on Wednesday, representatives pointed out that every region of the world has hosted the tournament since the United States hosted in 1994.

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Years later, in the aftermath of a Federation Internationale de Football Association corruption scandal that resulted in numerous criminal indictments, the organisation introduced reforms and changed the process for choosing the World Cup host. Hosting rights for previous World Cups had been awarded by what was then a 24-person FIFA Executive Committee.

The Canadian cities are Edmonton, Alberta; Montreal; and Toronto; and Mexico's are Guadalajara; Mexico City; and Monterrey. It will also be the first tournament to be hosted by three countries, Goal reported.

The new format would mean 16 groups of three teams.

The FIFA inspectors had deemed Morocco a "high risk" choice, describing the two bids as "almost at opposite ends of the spectrum".

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