The 2026 World Cup has found its home: North America.
On Wednesday, member associations of world soccer’s governing body FIFA overwhelmingly voted in support of a combined hosting bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada (dubbed the “United Bid”) — sending the largest FIFA World Cup in history to America for the first time in 32 years.
Voting was held live by the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow, Russia, ahead of the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Morocco, the challenger, lost the bid to stage the expanded 48-team tournament by a vote of 134-65. This is the fifth time the Northern African country has failed to win a World Cup hosting vote. The tournament has only been held in the continent once, for 2010’s Cup in South Africa.
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So what swayed voters? Likely North America’s pledge of $14 billion in revenue and $11 billion in profits for FIFA, which FIFA says will be shared among the 211 member associations so that they can “further develop and expand the game of football across the globe.” Additionally, the 16 stadiums that will be used across all three continents all already exist and require no additional construction costs.
Morocco, by contrast, had promised a profit of less than half, The New York Times reported. All 14 venues would have had to be renovated or built, to the tune of a $16 billion price tag.
The World Cup was previously held in America in 1994. Canada has never hosted, while Mexico previously welcomed the event in 1970 and 1986.
Of the 80 matches scheduled for the World Cup across the 23 candidate host cities, 60 of them will be held in the United States including all of the games from the quarterfinals onward and the highly anticipated finale, which will be at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium. The remaining 20 matches will be split evenly between Canada and Mexico.
Over 1,100 players are expected, all who will train across the 150 proposed training sites.
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“Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup is a rare and important moment to demonstrate that we are all truly united through sport,” Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S. Soccer and co-chair of the United Bid, said in a statement. “We are humbled by the trust our colleagues in the FIFA family have put in our bid; strengthened by the unity between our three countries and the CONCACAF region; and excited by the opportunity we have to put football on a new and sustainable path for generations to come.”
“Hosting a FIFA World Cup is an extraordinary honor and privilege,” Steven Reed, president of Canada Soccer and co-chair of the United Bid, said as well. “Canada, Mexico, and the United States are ready to welcome the world to North America and serve as stewards of the largest FIFA World Cup in history. Our vision is of a world of opportunity for our Candidate Host Cities and for the global football community.”
Added Decio de Maria, president of Mexico Football Federation and co-chair of the United Bid: “We are grateful for the chance to bring to life FIFA’s new vision for the future of football. Together-in partnership with our Candidate Host Cities, the Member Associations, and FIFA-we will use this platform to unite the world around football and help create a new and sustainable blueprint for the future of FIFA World Cups.”