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NFL stadia at heart of North American World Cup bid

Major NFL stadiums are set to play a major role in the North American bid for the 2026 Fifa World Cup as 41 cities across the US, Mexico and Canada officially expressed interest in hosting games.

The Dallas Cowboys’ 105,000-capacity AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas is the biggest stadium to have submitted a bid, with the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta also present.

The under-construction 100,000-seat LA Stadium at Hollywood Park, which will be the home of the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, is also included.

The United Bid Committee said it will review all bid submissions and release an initial shortlist of cities before the end of the year. The final bid will be sent to Fifa by March 16, 2018, with the 2026 World Cup to be awarded by at the Fifa Congress in June 2018.

United Bid officials said it is expected that at least 12 locations could ultimately serve as host cities for the event, which will be the first World Cup with the expanded 48-team format. Of the 80 matches in the tournament, the US is set to host 60, with Mexico and Canada hosting 10 matches each.

“The host cities will help define the United Bid,” said John Kristick, United Bid Committee executive director.

“Each will offer the best facilities and infrastructure to stage the world’s biggest single-event sporting competition, the Fifa World Cup, and together they will play a key role in the development of the sport in North America.

“We’re thrilled with the submissions that we have received, especially each city’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, and we look forward to bringing the best group of candidate host cities together for our official United Bid.”

In addition to a stadium capable of hosting international soccer, United Bid officials said each city must propose “top international-level training sites and locations for team base camps as well as hotels for teams, staff and VIP’s”.

All stadiums are required to have at least 40,000 seats for group stage matches, and a capacity of at least 80,000 to be considered for the opening match and the final.

As well as the US venues, Mexico City’s 87,000-capacity Azteca Stadium, the home of the 1970 and 1986 World Cups, is also included as one of three Mexican proposals. Six Canadian cities have also expressed interest.

The bid committee said it will also evaluate cities on their “commitment to sustainable event management, aspirations to develop soccer, and the positive social impact they anticipate stemming from the event in the local community and beyond”.

Officials said all cities, including those not submitting bids to serve as official host cities, could be selected as the location for the international broadcast centre, host team base camps, or host other major events such as the preliminary or final draw.


CANADA (six cities)

Edmonton, Alberta – Commonwealth Stadium

Montreal, Quebec – Stade Olympique

Ottawa, Ontario – TD Place Stadium

Regina, Saskatchewan – Mosaic Stadium

Toronto, Ontario – BMO Field

Vancouver, British Columbia – BC Place

MEXICO (three cities)

Guadalajara, Jalisco – Estadio Chivas

Mexico City – Estadio Azteca

Monterrey, Nuevo Leon – Estadio Rayados

UNITED STATES (32 cities)

Atlanta, GA – Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Baltimore, MD – M&T Bank Stadium

Birmingham, AL – Legion Field

Boston, MA (Foxborough, MA) – Gillette Stadium

Charlotte, NC – Bank of America Stadium

Chicago, IL – Soldier Field

Cincinnati, OH – Paul Brown Stadium

Cleveland, OH – FirstEnergy Stadium

Dallas, TX – Cotton Bowl

Dallas, TX (Arlington, TX) – AT&T Stadium

Denver, CO – Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Detroit, MI – Ford Field

Houston, TX – NRG Stadium

Indianapolis, IN – Lucas Oil Stadium

Jacksonville, FL – EverBank Field

Kansas City, MO – Arrowhead Stadium

Las Vegas, NV – Raiders Stadium

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Los Angeles, CA (Inglewood, CA) – LA Stadium at Hollywood Park

Los Angeles, CA (Pasadena, CA) – Rose Bowl

Miami, FL – Hard Rock Stadium

Minneapolis, MN – U.S. Bank Stadium

Nashville, TN – Nissan Stadium

New Orleans, LA – Mercedes-Benz Superdome

New York/New Jersey (East Rutherford, NJ) – MetLife Stadium

Orlando, FL – Camping World Stadium

Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field

Phoenix, AZ (Glendale, AZ) – University of Phoenix Stadium

Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Field

Salt Lake City, UT – Rice-Eccles Stadium

San Antonio, TX – Alamodome

San Francisco/San Jose, CA (Santa Clara, CA) – Levi’s Stadium

Seattle, WA – CenturyLink Field

Tampa, FL – Raymond James Stadium

Washington, DC (Landover, MD) – FedEx Field

IMAGE: Mahanga

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