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U.S., Canada and Mexico announce joint bid for 2026 World Cup

Although divisions between the nations of North America have dominated the news as of late, the presidents of the soccer federations for the U.S., Canada and Mexico have unified themselves, submitting an unprecedented three-nation bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup last Monday.

The announcement within the auspicious confines of One World Trade Center, offering attendees beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline and New York Harbor.

Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, said talks with Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani and Mexican soccer president Decio de Maria have been taking place — unbeknownst to the public — over the last four years. The three executives suggested a unified North American effort to host the World Cup could be as symbolic as the Statue of Liberty.

“We’re not going to get too much into politics today,” said Gulati, who later added that “President Trump is fully supportive of the joint bid and is especially happy that Mexico is participating in this joint bid with us.”

Gulati said 60 of the tournament’s 80 games will be played in the U.S. with 10 each scheduled for Mexico and Canada. All games from the quarterfinal on will be played in the U.S. Among the likely candidates for the final is the Los Angeles Rams’ proposed new home in Inglewood, Calif.

With Los Angeles also a finalist in bidding for the 2024 Olympics, Southern California could play host to two largest events in international sports only two years apart, following the example of Brazil, which put on the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Rio Games.

A 2026 North American edition would also insert the World Cup, which is the biggest single-sport event in the world, into an economy that generates over $22 trillion in annual GDP and is home to nearly 450 million people. According to Forbes, “No other bid could come close to such economic clout and FIFA knows that it will translate into more money.”

“This is a milestone day for U.S. Soccer and for CONCACAF,” Gulati said, making reference to the regional confederation that oversees soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. “We gave careful consideration to the prospect of bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and ultimately feel strongly this is the right thing for our region and for our sport.

“Along with our partners from the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federacion Mexicana de Futbol, we are confident that we will submit an exemplary bid worthy of bringing the FIFA World Cup back to North America.”

The World Cup is expanding in 2026 to a record 48 teams and 80 games. As a result, analysts anticipate there will be numerous logistical headaches, problems that could be exacerbated by playing games in three countries. Only the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan has been hosted by multiple nations.

FIFA will also have to seek assurances from the U.S. that players, staff and fans would not face any extreme restrictions in traveling to games in the U.S. “We have very specifically addressed this with the president,” Gulati said.

The continent has played host to World Cups, in 1970 and 1986 in Mexico and in 1994 in the U.S., with the 1994 tournament setting records for attendance. Canada put on the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

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