The United States would consider bidding for the 2026 World Cup only if FIFA makes further changes to the bidding process beyond those already projected, according to US Soccer president Sunil Gulati.
He was speaking during a a panel discussion at a Leaders in Sport Summit along with Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber.
The US lost out to Qatar for 2022 in the final round of voting in the world federation’s executive committee in December 2010. Gulati has since become a member of the committee.
Mexico, another member of the Central and North American confederation CONCACAF, has already indicated an interest in bidding for 2026. Mexico hosted the finals in 1978 and 1986 while the US played host in 1994.
Gulati, asked if the US might pursue 2026, said: “The answer is maybe. Maybe we’ll bid, we’re not going to bid unless the rules of the game are changed.”
He suggested the technical report on the strengths and weaknesses of the competing bids “need to mean more” and also that the vote – which will be individual national associations in FIFA Congress – should be open to “public disclosure.”
Qatar’s 2022 victory came despite a FIFA technical report which warned of the dangers of staging the tournament in the nation’s searing summer months.
Both England and the United States have been irked by suggestions from FIFA officials that Russia and Qatar were more suitable because they have never hosted the World Cup before, saying they should have been told up front that countries who had hosted before were at a disadvantage in the voting.
Qatar has been dogged by controversies not only over the validity of the vote but also the treatment of foreign workers employed on World Cup infrastructure projects, as well as when in 2022 the tournament should be played.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted that overlooking the technical report on Qatar had been “a mistake.” Ethics investigatro Michael Garcia has been studying allegations of misconduct in the bidding/voting process.