SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Chargers, could be ruled out of hosting the final of the 2026 FIFA World Cup due to its pitch being too narrow.
The Times, citing sources close to the tournament’s organising committee, has reported that the width of the stadium’s pitch needs to be increased, possibly by as much as 63 feet, if it is able to host the final.
SoFi Stadium, which opened in 2020 and has a capacity of 70,000, will definitely host matches earlier in the tournament but doubts have now emerged over its ability to stage the final.
The venue, which hosted the Super Bowl in 2022, had been considered one of the frontrunners to stage the final of the World Cup, which the US will co-host alongside Mexico and Canada.
In June last year, FIFA decided on the 16 cities that will host the 2026 tournament but the exact schedule has not yet been confirmed. Earlier this week, FIFA confirmed a further expansion of the tournament by reverting back to the four-team group stage format.
MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants, could be awarded the final if SoFi Stadium is unable to host. SoFi Stadium could be forced into removing some of the seats closest to the pitch if it wishes to host the final.
Los Angeles also staged the 1994 World Cup final, with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena playing host.
The other US cities that will host matches in 2026 are Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco Bay Arena (Levi’s Stadium) and Seattle (Lumen Field).
Three Mexican cities will host matches: Guadalajara (Estadio Akron), Mexico City (Estadio Azteca) and Monterrey (Estadio BBVA Bancomer). BMO Field in Toronto and BC Place in Vancouver complete the venue line-up.