CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani has told the Guardian that the United States, Canada and Mexico are expected to submit a joint bid for the 2026 World Cup, a move that was anticipated after FIFA President Gianni Infantino announced earlier this year that world soccer’s governing body will encourage future bidders for the sport’s biggest tournament to partner up.
“Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are aiming for a joint bid, the idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani, president of the federation that oversees soccer in North America and the Caribbean, told David Conn. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together.”
FIFA’s plan for shared tournaments stems in part from the fact that it has become increasingly untenable for one country to host big events such as the World Cup or Summer Olympics. In Brazil, for instance, a number of publicly financed facilities built for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Games already have fallen into a state of disrepair because of local arguments over who will maintain them. Sharing events such as the World Cup or Olympics ideally would lessen the financial blow for countries that want to host.
“We will encourage co-hosting for the World Cup because we need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term,” Infantino said in February. “[We could] … maybe bring together two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each. We will certainly encourage it. Ideally the countries will be close to each other.”
The World Cup will expand to 48 teams and 80 games in 2026, and the three North American countries are seen as heavy favorites to host the event because of their existing infrastructure and the fact that the tournament last was held on the continent in 1994. Any decision on the 2026 tournament is still a long way off, however: FIFA will evaluate each bid over a roughly year-long period starting in January 2019, and then the FIFA Congress will vote on the host or hosts in May 2020.
Japan and South Korea shared the 1998 World Cup, to wide acclaim, and the European Championship has been shared by multiple countries three times in the past. It will be held in 13 cities in 13 countries in 2020.