The United States will join Canada and Mexico in a three-way bid to host the 2026 World Cup, the head of the organization that governs international soccer in North and Central America told The Guardian.
The joint bid — for a tournament that is expected to be expanded that year — is expected to be finalized and submitted to FIFA this year, CONCACAF president VIctor Montagliani said.
“The idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” Montagliani said of the three-country bid. “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.”
Montagliani appeared to be referring to divisiveness caused by U.S. President Donald Trump’s follow-through on a campaign promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Asked by The Guardian if that’s what he was referring to, Montagliani — a Canadian insurance executive elected as CONCACAF president in May — said soccer has to “rise above” politics of all kinds.
“It behooves football and leaders of football to deal with it and rise above it,” he said.
The three-country bid would come as FIFA appears ready to expand the quadrennial event in 2026 to a new 48-team, 80-game format. A final decision on the format is likely to be “sometime this year,” Montagliani said.
A decision on who will actually host the event won’t come until FIFA’s annual congress in May 2020. The 2018 World Cup was awarded to Russia, and the 2022 event — which since-deposed FIFA president Sepp Blatter lobbied for the U.S. host alone — instead was awarded to Qatar.
A 2026 bid from the CONCACAF region — which covers North America, Central America and the Caribbean — would be a strong favorite. CONCACAF last hosted the tournament in 1994, when it was in the U.S.