United 2026 bid brings World Cup to U.S., Mexico, Canada

The 48-team tournament will be played at up to 16 venues across North America.
by Francis Whittaker /  / Updated 

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The U.S., Canada and Mexico will co-host soccer's World Cup in 2026, officials announced Wednesday.

Members of the sport's FIFA governing body voted for the joint North American proposal — known as United 2026 — over a rival Moroccan bid at a meeting in Moscow.

The U.S., Canadian and Mexican proposal got 134 votes, far ahead of Morocco's 65. One FIFA member voted for neither.

"On behalf of our United bid ... thank you so very much for this incredible honor," Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, told delegates after the announcement. "Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2026."

President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations following the bid's success.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto later echoed that message from their own accounts.

The U.S. hosted the tournament in 1994, when Brazil won the final at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.

Up to 16 venues for United 2026 — the first World Cup to include 48 teams — will be selected from among 23 stadiums that exist or already are under construction, including three each in Mexico and Canada.

The U.S. cities that could host games are: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington.

Canada's venues will located be in Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto, while the Mexican potential host cities are Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.

Prior to the vote, the FIFA inspections report favored the North American bid and highlighted three "high risk" elements in Morocco's bid: stadiums, hotels and transport.

All 14 of the Moroccan venues would have needed to be built or renovated as part of the $16 billion investment in new infrastructure the African nation said was required.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino last week urged the voting federations to "look at the report" — seemingly a signal of the governing body's preference for the security and stability offered by United 2026.

However, the North American bid also faced issues in the run-up to the voting.

After Trump sent a tweet in April questioning whether the U.S. should "support" countries who didn't back United 2026, FIFA was forced to issue a statement reminding the U.S. of its rules on political involvement in World Cup bids.

Concerns were also expressed that the Trump administration's travel restrictions on citizens of some countries, and the president's inflammatory rhetoric, would damage the bid.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported Trump had written to FIFA's president three times offering guarantees that teams, officials, and fans would be able to travel into the U.S., and the tournament would be conducted in an "open and festive manner."

In March, several potential host cities — including Chicago, Minneapolis and Arizona — also dropped out over what local officials said were burdensome financial demands by FIFA.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is banned from soccer roles for six years over financial misconduct, announced in February that he felt Morocco was "the logical host" for the tournament as co-hosting had been "rejected" by FIFA following the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.

The United States also bid for the 2022 World Cup, and had been favorite to host that tournament, but lost out to the tiny Gulf state of Qatar at FIFA's congress in 2010.

Following concerns over the process that resulted in hosting rights being awarded to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022, a more rigorous bidding system was implemented, requiring candidates to produce — among other things — human rights strategies.

The soccer federations of U.S. territories Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not take part in Wednesday's vote following complaints by Morocco.

However, the delegate from American Samoa did cast a ballot. The scandal-hit Ghana federation did not attend and did not vote.

The next World Cup kicks off in Russia on Thursday.

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