United they stand

Sports | 14 Jun 2018

The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada after Fifa's Congress voted overwhelmingly to back the tri-nation joint bid for the tournament and leave Morocco to miss out for the fifth time.

The North American bid collected 134 votes to the 65 for Morocco. One congress member voted for "neither bid."

The 2026 event will be the first expanded tournament featuring 48 teams, up from the current 32-team tournament, which begins in Russia today.

Both bids were given a last chance to make their case with 15-minute presentations in front of congress, at the Moscow Expocentre. The north Americans pledged their tournament would generate an US$11 billion (HK$86.331 billion) profit, while Morocco, which has now failed in five bids to host a World Cup, said theirs would make US$5 billion.

Although it will be the first tournament to be hosted by three nations, the vast majority of games will be held in the Unites States. Of the 80 games, 10 matches will be held in Canada, 10 in Mexico and 60 in the US, with the final played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

"Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege of hosting the World Cup in 2026," Carlos Cordeiro, president of the US Soccer Federation, told Congress. "Football today is the only winner."

The US hosted the World Cup in 1994 while Mexico hosted it in 1970 and 1986. Canada has never hosted a men's World Cup but held the women's tournament in 2015.

"We are very excited and humbled that the Fifa member associations have entrusted the region with the honor of hosting the 2026 World Cup in its new extended format," the north American foootball confederation said. "Each of the United Bid's 23 proposed stadiums are fully built, occupied, and operational, ensuring long-term use following the 2026 World Cup."

Decio de Maria, president of Mexican federation and co-chair of the United Bid, said: "We are grateful for the chance to bring to life Fifa's new vision for the future of football.

"We will use this platform to unite the world around football and help create a new and sustainable blueprint for the future of World Cups."

REUTERS

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