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Montreal pulls out of 2026 World Cup venue selection process

Montreal has withdrawn from the venue selection process for the 2026 edition of football’s FIFA World Cup, which Canada will co-host alongside the US and Mexico.

Montreal was one of three Canadian cities on a longlist of 23 candidates to host matches at the World Cup. Edmonton and Toronto also feature on the list, which is set to be cut to 16 ahead of the tournament.

Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, which has a capacity of 56,000, had been put forward as a potential host venue for the World Cup. Its withdrawal today (Tuesday) comes after the provincial government in Quebec said in January that it would not be supporting the city’s bid amid escalating costs.

Canada Soccer released a statement today which read: “We thank the City of Montreal for their participation in the bid process and look forward to continuing our collaboration with the respective municipal and provincial governments along with the Government of Canada in support of the selection of Edmonton, Alberta and Toronto, Ontario as host cities for the FIFA World Cup 2026.”

FIFA has also thanked Montreal for its participation and said it would continue to work closely with the respective national associations in Canada, Mexico and the US during the “highly competitive” venue selection process.

FIFA plans on running venue visits from September to November, with further details on the selection process to be provided in due course. Following Montreal’s withdrawal, the two remaining Canadian venues on the shortlist are Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium and Toronto’s BMO Field, home of the city’s Major League Soccer franchise.

The candidate cities in the US are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. In Mexico, the candidate host cities are Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.

Prior to Montreal’s withdrawal, the US had been lined up to have 10 host cities but this could now rise to 11.

The 2026 World Cup will mark the first edition of the tournament to be played with 48 teams instead of the current 32. The ‘United 2026’ bid from the US, Canada and Mexico was awarded hosting rights to the tournament back in June 2018 after defeating a rival bid from Morocco.

Image: Jose Rodriguez from Pixabay