The last time the world cup came to North America- China had just gotten the internet, the Zapatista Army began its war in Chiapas, Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream,” was stolen in Oslo and the exchange rate correction of the Mexican peso to the U.S. dollar sent the global market into a tizzy when Mexico’s financial market crashed.
The year was 1994 and the bid went to Los Angeles in the United States. This year federation leaders from Mexico, the United States and Canada traveled to over fifty countries and lobbied in excess of 150 federations for the bid to have the world cup again in North America.
U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said in a teleconference,
“We believe soccer- or football- will become the preeminent sport in North America.”
It already is in Mexico and catching up quickly in both the United States and Canada.
Beating out Morocco, North America received the support of 134 of the 199 countries that voted. Iran was the only nation that didn’t choose either Morocco or North America and Spain, Slovenia and Cuba all abstained.
The schedule will allow for 60 to 80 games to be played in the U.S. along with all quarterfinal matches while Mexico and Canada host games each.
There will be 48 teams in 2026 expanding the field from the current 32 teams. Three cities in Mexico will play host to games along with three from Canada and 17 from the United States.
This victory for North America will help to wipe the slate clean after Qatar won the bid for the 2022 tournament that was overshadowed by accusations of bribery and other shady dealings. This occurred because originally only a handful of FIFA executives decided where the tournament would be held.
The year 2015 saw the arrests of numerous people involved and FIFA decided to restructure the process allowing each of FIFA’s member nations to cast a vote.
It is still not yet known if all three host nations will get automatic berths though they have in the past.
“What an exciting day for the sport of soccer in Canada, Mexico and the United States- and really, for the rest of the world,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “There’s no doubt that World Cup 2026 will elevate the sport of soccer to entirely new levels.”
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