KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- The United States, Mexico and Canada have confirmed, in New York, their intention to bid for a historic three-way cohosting of the expanded World Cup finals in 2026.
President Donald Trump is apparently full supportive, whatever the state of diplomatic, cross-border relations between the US and Mexico.
The likelihood of the tournament being staged in the CONCACAF region has been increasingly likely ever since an initial TV deal with Fox and Telemundo was signed by world federation FIFA in 2015.
That was widely seen as a move by the regime of former president Sepp Blatter by avoid legal action after the US was surprisingly beaten to the 2022 staging by Qatar.
Then, last October, FIFA Council under new president Gianni Infantino indicated not only an increase in the number of finalists but an end to the governing body’s opposition to cohosting and the return to a rotation system for staging. This ruled out rivalry from Europe and Asia which host the finals in 2018 (Russia) and 2022 (Qatar) respectively.
]January’s decision to expand the finals to 48 teams meant few countries will be able to host the finals on their own in future and offered CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani the opportunity to avert what would have been damaging infighting between the US, Mexico and his own Canada.
Final details for the announcement were resolved over the weekend at the CONCACAF congress in Aruba at meetings involving Montagliani, USSF president Sunil Gulati and Mexican federation head and CONCACAF vice-president Decio de Maria.
Gulati insisted that the bid would bypass any issues arising from President Donald Trump’s determination to build a wall between the US and Mexico.
He said: “We have very specifically addressed this with the president. He is fully supportive of the joint bid, encouraged the joint bid, and is especially pleased with the fact Mexico is participating in the joint bid.
“We don’t believe sport can solve all the issues in the world but, especially with what’s going on in the world today, we believe this is a hugely positive signal and symbol of what we can do together in unifying people, especially in our three countries.”
The trio’s proposal would see the US staging 60 games including all matches from quarterfinals onwards with Mexico and Canada hosting 10 games each.
The success of a three-way bid would make Mexico the first country to host World Cup finals matches three times after 1970 and 1986.
The 1994 tournament in the US set an match attendance average and total attendance records that still stand even though the tournament has since expanded from 24 to 32 countries.
Canada has never hosted the men’s tournament but was praised widely for its hosting of the Women’s World Cup in 2015.
The only previous co-hosting was in 2002 when South Korea and Japan shared the finals in an overtly political decision. Seoul staged the Opening Match and Yokohama the Final.