Q SPORTS – The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), member nations the United States, Canada and Mexico on Monday declared their intention to submit formally a unified bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The historic effort, which would represent the first time that three nations jointly hosted a FIFA competition, was announced by Victor Montagliani, president of both CONCACAF and the Canadian Soccer Association; Sunil Gulati, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation; and Decio de Maria, president of the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, at One World Observatory in New York City on the 102nd and top floor of the One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
‘Historic’ World Cup bid to unite North and Central America
According to Associated Press, the intention bid was widely expected before Donald Trump was elected president, but there was concern the plan was unworkable under Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.
But even if he serves a second term Trump would not be president in 2026, the confederation made the final decision to go ahead with the bid at its meeting Saturday in Aruba.
The CONCACAF website quotes Montagliani as saying, “Canada Soccer is honored to partner with fellow CONCACAF member associations USA and Mexico to bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.” He added that “Canada is the only remaining G-8 nation to have not hosted a FIFA World Cup despite our history of success in raising the bar for youth and women’s FIFA tournaments (…).”
“This is a milestone day for U.S. Soccer and for CONCACAF,” Gulati said. The United States hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1994, still the most successful in history for overall attendance.
Mexico was the first nation to host the FIFA World Cup for the second time, first holding the event in 1970 and 1986. It became the first host country to win the FIFA Confederations Cup, collecting the title in 1999 by defeating Brazil in the final, 4-3. The Mexicans also hosted and won the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup.
“For the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, and the entire Mexican soccer family, it is a source of pride to be candidates, along with the United States and Canada, to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026,” de Maria said.
The CONCACAF has not hosted the World Cup since the tournament was played in the United States and the region appears to be the leading contender for 2026, when soccer’s premier event expands from 32 nations to 48.
In recent years Costa Rica has become a power in the region and in 2014 became the 4th CONCACAF country after the United States, Cuba, and Mexico to make the World Cup quarterfinals.
The CONCACAF, the third-most successful FIFA confederation, was founded on September 18, 1961 in Mexico City, Mexico, with the merger of the NAFC and the CCCF, which made it one of the then five, now six continental confederations affiliated with FIFA.
Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Netherlands Antilles (Curaçao), Nicaragua, Panama, Suriname and United States were founding members.