KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: FIFA intends to decide on the United States host venues for the triple-hosted 2026 World Cup finals late this year.
Months of enforced uncertainty over the timeline has ended – the world football federation hopes – by the confirmation of the assessment and analysis process.
Three virtually self-selected venues each are expected to be used in Canada and Mexico but a competing queue of 23 cities are competing for the 10 US slots.
A series of online candidate conferences were undertaken last autumn and further a further schedule of one-on-one video meetings with be staged between the end of next month and the start of July.
Then, if Covid-19 restrictions permit, FIFA hopes its technical assessment team can start on-site venue visits from the beginning of July.
A FIFA statement said: “FIFA and the host associations aim to have the host cities appointed by the FIFA Council in the last quarter of 2021.”
The key factors will be infrastructure and services (both sporting and general), commercial potential, sustainability, human rights and event legacy.
This will be the first World Cup featuring 48 teams which will mean 80 matches instead of the current 32-team 64 matches.
The US candidate cities are: Atlanta, San Francisco Bay Area, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Seattle and Washington