The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada, it was announced today (Wednesday).
The United 2026 bid saw off competition from Morocco, receiving 134 votes to the African nation’s 65. The announcement was made during the FIFA Congress meeting in Moscow, Russia, where the 2018 World Cup gets underway tomorrow.
The United 2026 bid features 23 stadia across 23 candidate host cities. This number will be reduced to 16 venues in 16 cities during a final host city evaluation and selection process.
The bulk of host venues proposed (17) are in the US, with three each in Canada and Mexico. United 2026 has proposed that 10 games each be played in Canada and Mexico, with 60 to be held in the US. The 2026 World Cup will mark the first edition of the tournament to feature 48 teams and FIFA has previously stated that the expanded nature of the event would place an extra burden on the host nation(s).
All 23 of United 2026’s stadia are already in existence. Six venues are set to undergo renovation work in the coming years, although no stadia are expected to require major redevelopment.
The United 2026 stadium proposals are: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta), M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore), Gillette Stadium (Boston), Paul Brown Stadium (Cincinnati), AT&T Stadium (Dallas), Mile High Stadium (Denver), Commonwealth Stadium (Edmonton), Estadio Akron (Guadalajara), NRG Stadium (Houston), Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City), Rose Bowl (Los Angeles), Estadio Azteca (Mexico City), Hard Rock Stadium (Miami), Estadio BBVA Bancomer (Monterrey), Olympic Stadium (Montreal), Nissan Stadium (Nashville), MetLife Stadium (New York/New Jersey), Camping World Stadium (Orlando), Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia), Levi’s Stadium (San Francisco Bay Area), CenturyLink Field (Seattle), BMO Field (Toronto) and FedExField (Washington, D.C.).
All of the stadia proposed by United 2026 meet FIFA’s core minimum requirements regarding stadium orientation. Sixteen of the venues are fully in line with the requirements, with the other seven considered compliant. The requirements are designed to ensure that main stands are not facing the sun from midday to sunset during the time of year when the World Cup is held.
All of the venues proposed by United 2026 were assed as either meeting or exceeding FIFA’s minimum requirement regarding current or forecast stadium gross capacities, with the average capacity of the venues standing at 69,261.
United 2026 has proposed that MetLife Stadium (pictured) host the World Cup final, with semi-finals to be staged at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and AT&T Stadium.
In its evaluation report on the two bids, FIFA said that the United 2026 presented a portfolio of “existing, high-quality and fully operation stadium infrastructure” for hosting the World Cup, and deemed its stadia as “low risk”.
Morocco, on the other hand, was given a high stadium risk and scored just 2.3 out of five in FIFA’s evaluation report. Morocco had proposed 14 stadia spread across 12 host cities, with Casablanca and Marrakesh having been put forward to offer two venues.
Morocco’s bid had proposed five existing stadia that would require major renovation work, one stadium where initial construction was halted (Tétouan), one planned stadium where construction is due to begin in 2019 (Oujda), one planned stadium where work had been due to begin in 2020 (Grand Stade de Casablanca) and six venues that would be built as ‘legacy modular stadiums’.
In its evaluation report, FIFA noted that the Grande Stade de Casablanca was only scheduled for completion by June 2025, and pointed to “inherent risks” remaining in connection with the dismantling of the ‘legacy modular stadiums’.
Morocco has never hosted the World Cup, with the 2010 tournament in South Africa marking the only African edition to date. The US last hosted in 1994, while Mexico staged the 1970 and 1986 editions. Canada is yet to host the men’s World Cup but hosted the women’s edition in 2015.
Image: Anthony Quintano