The United States, Mexico, and Canada will hope to keep the 2026 World Cup off of the Road to Morocco, as the African nation emerged as the only challenger to the three nation North American bid announced at the top of One World Trade Center amidst great fanfare in April.
In a statement released today by U.S. Soccer, the organization’s President, Sunil Gulati, sounded confident in the three way bid.
“We’ve always been prepared for the fact that other countries could also decide to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” Gulati said. “Competition is good, and overall it shows the value and importance of the World Cup. We’re excited to prepare a bid that will demonstrate to FIFA that the first World Cup to be held in the CONCACAF region since 1994 should be awarded to Canada, Mexico, and the United States.”
Only Morocco and the United States met today’s filing deadline to be considered to host the 2026 games, now the two bidders have until March 16th to put their proposals in order. The U.S was burned in FIFA’s previous go round when the Americans lost out to Qatar, a development that shocked virtually all onlookers and left Gulati reluctant to bid again.
That experience may have encouraged the U.S.S.F. to join forces with their neighbors, although the Americans did consider going it alone.
With time being of the essence, Gulati sounds like a man determined not to get burned again, saying, “over the next eight months we’ve got a lot of work to do. The United Bid Committee has already started that work, and we will now go into full motion with our team in New York, in collaborations with our partners in Canada and Mexico.”
“Next week we will provide an update on the number of cities that are interested in being part of the World Cup in 2026 across all three countries,” Gulati continued, “and we’ll continue to put together a bid that will meet and exceed the final regulations and specifications required by FIFA.”
Back in April the deal we wrote the following:
Under the deal worked out by the three federations 60 of the 80 matches at the 48 nation 2026 World Cup would be played in the United States, including all of the games from the quarterfinals onward.
Mexico and Canada would have 10 games each in the negotiated agreement, which all three federation Presidents signed at the end of Monday’s ceremony.
Speaking to a cluster of reporters after the official program Gulati indicated the U.S. had the upper hand in negotiations with their new partners, saying, “if we went alone we had the strongest bid.” The U.S. Soccer President admitted that “we considered bidding alone until very, very recently, even until about a month ago.”
Gulati sounded as confident in April as he did in today’s statement, saying then, “a World Cup in North America with 60 games in the United States will be by far the most successful World Cup in the history of FIFA in terms of economics.”