FIFA Congress in Moscow
The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada, FIFA‘s congress overwhelmingly voted in favour of the tri-nation joint bid in Moscow yesterday. The 2026 tournament will be the first expanded tournament featuring 48 teams, up from the current 32-team format.
The North American bid collected 134 votes to the 65 for Morocco. Iran voted for “neither bid.” African countries overwhelmingly supported Morocco bid, where as North and South American countries voted in a block to support United States led bid. Only notable exception from South America is Brazil which voted for Morocco bid. Others who supported Morocco bid were China, North Korea, Belgium, France, Italy and Qatar. Russia and Saudi Arabia, which are featuring in inauguration game today, supported winning bid.
Representatives of both bids gave separate 15 minute presentations in front of congress, at the Moscow Expocentre, where the north Americans pledged their tournament would generate a USD 11 billion profit, while Morocco said theirs would make USD 5 billion.
“Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2026,” Carlos Cordiero, president of the US Soccer Federation told Congress. “Football today is the only winner.”
The US hosted the World Cup previously in 1994 while Mexico hosted it in 1970 and 1986. Canada has never hosted a men’s World Cup but held the women’s tournament in 2015. Morroco have now failed in five bids to host a World Cup.
USA-Mexico-Canada Hosting Together
This is the first time when three nations are coming together of organising World Cup. Twenty-three cities across the three countries are bidding to be selected as one of the 16 eventual host cities. Mexico and Canada are expected to host 10 matches each, using three stadiums, with the US hosting the remaining 60 games in 10 stadiums.
48 participating countries will play in 16 groups. Two of the group topper will proceed further to play in ‘Round of 32’. So there will be 48 group league matches and 32 knock-out matches, compared to 48 and 16 matches respectively in current format.
Mexico and Canada would each host seven group matches, two matches in the round of 32, and one match in the round of 16. Every game from the quarter-final stage onwards would be in the US, with the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey expected to stage the final itself.
The expansion to 48 teams has been a key plank of Gianni Infantino’s policy at FIFA.
AFC Members from Asia – eight places (up from 4.5)
CAF Members from Africa – nine places (up from 5)
CONCACAF Members from North & Central America and Caribbean Countries – six places, of which three go to hosts (up from 3.5)
CONMEBOL Members from South America – six places (up from 4.5)
OFC Members from Oceania – one place (up from 0.5)
UEFA Members from Europe – 16 places (up from 13)
In addition there will be two final spots available from a new World Cup play-off mini-tournament, the format and details of this tournament is currently in proposal stage.