The United States, Mexico, and Canada will host a joint World Cup in 2026 after comfortably beating bid rival Morocco in the vote for the first expanded 48-team tournament, with 80 matches. This marked the first time three nations are going to host the massive international soccer event.
When the entire result of the vote flashed up on the big screen in the hall – the first time a World Cup vote was public – there were some surprises, notably that Russia, who had been expected to vote for Morocco, opted for the North America bid as did a number of African nations.
The North Americans had offered FIFA’s member associations a ready-made World Cup. The 23 stadiums they suggested are all built, as is most of the infrastructure the expanded 48-team tournament will need: training sites, hotels, airports, rail lines. And the North American event is projected to make an $11bn (£8.1bn) profit for governing body FIFA, said ESPN.
FIFA now has the final say on which cities are selected to host games and whether all three countries are guaranteed a place at the tournament. Of the 80 matches, 60 are happening in the US, with Canada and Mexico each set to host 10. Canada and Mexico have already chosen their three host cities.
According to Orlando Business Journal, the US has submitted 17 cities to host matches, but that list is to be narrowed down to 10 by 2021. Each US city would host at least five matches. Now it’s on the cities to win the opportunity to host matches and draw hordes of fans and economic impact.