The North American joint bid comprising the USA, Mexico and Canada has won the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The decision was announced at FIFA’s annual congress in Moscow moments ago. The bid beat off competition from Morocco and was chosen in a vote by 203 of FIFA’s 210 member federations present in the Russian capital, one day before the World Cup 2018 opener in the city between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia.
The ‘United Bid’ for the three North American countries won 134 votes compared to 65 for Morocco, with one federation declining to choose either bid.
The North American bid was seen as a safer bet than Morocco, whose proposal was deemed “high risk” in several key areas. The North American tournament will see games take place in up to 16 stadiums, the majority of which will be in the USA. All of the stadiums already exist, and will only require renovation ahead of the tournament.
The Moroccan bid offered a tournament spread across 14 stadiums in 12 cities, but would have involved an estimated $16 billion spend on stadiums and infrastructure. An inspection report on Morocco by FIFA had highlighted three “high-risk” areas stadiums, hotels, and transport which were widely seen as undermining the country’s efforts to bring a second World Cup to Africa. There were also concerns over “unexplored risks” in the area of human rights.
For the USA it will be a second time as World Cup hosts, following the tournament in 1994, while for Mexico it will be an unprecedented third time after holding the event in 1970 and 1986. It will be a World Cup first for Canada.