ZURICH: Preparations for the FIFA World Cup 2026™ remain firmly on track, according to a study group who have concluded the first leg of operational visits to the 16 host cities for the tournament which will be staged across Canada, Mexico and the United States.

A world governing body statement said:

A group of international and North American based FIFA experts leading key operational areas – from transport and stadium operations to hospitality and pitch management – visited half of the venues between Wednesday, 20 September and today, holding talks with local colleagues in Miami, Houston, Atlanta, Kansas City, Boston, New York New Jersey, Philadelphia and Toronto. Besides discussing matchday operations inside and outside the stadiums and meeting with governors, mayors and other public authorities, the group took in an MLS match at the Atlanta Stadium and an NFL game at the Kansas City Stadium during the tour.

The visits will resume in late October, starting with Dallas and continuing on to the remaining US Host Cities and the three in Mexico before concluding in Vancouver, Canada, in early November.

“The wealth of sport and entertainment event organisation experience across North America is being put to excellent use to make the 2026 edition the best FIFA World Cup ever. What stands out from the past ten days is that not only is the expertise there, but also the commitment and the excitement. We thank these eight cities for being incredible hosts and partners to our team, and we can’t wait to see them welcoming the world in three years’ time,” said Heimo Schirgi, FIFA Chief Operating Officer – World Cup.

“With the qualifiers having already started in South America, and soon to kick off in Asia and Africa, the tournament feels like it’s coming to life, and we’re all excited that plans are being developed and finalised with our Host City colleagues,” added Schirgi.

Since the announcement of the 16 Host Cities in June 2022, each Host City Committee has called on the talents and experience of top sport and event professionals to develop and refine its strategy.

“Along with its many valued stakeholders, the City of Toronto welcomed FIFA to our incredible city and fantastic FIFA World Cup venue as we continue to prepare for the tournament in 2026. We look forward to welcoming the world to Toronto and delivering an exceptional experience for both global and local soccer fans,” said Jaye Robinson, City of Toronto councillor (Don Valley West) and chair of the Toronto FIFA World Cup 2026 Executive Steering Committee.

FIFA has worked hand in hand with the Host City Committees every step of the way, establishing offices in all three host countries to best blend FIFA tournament know-how with local knowledge and flavour. This approach will ensure that each Host City experience will be unique for the millions of fans set to be part of the most inclusive FIFA World Cup™ ever and the first to feature 48 teams and 104 matches.