The World Cup will hit Canadian soil in 2026 it was announced on Wednesday after a bid that includes Canada, Mexico and the United States. The joint bid beat out Morocco who also was vying to host the World Cup in 2026. The member association of FIFA, during a congress session in Moscow, voted 135 out of 165 in favour of the Canadian, Mexican and United States joint bid.
Speaking on the vote, Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S Soccer said that the real victor today is football. Morocco has now lost five recent bids to host the prestigious World Cup and was graceful in their defeat to the Canadian, Mexican and United States bid and congratulated the North American winners.
This is good news for Canada who failed to win its bid in 1986. Mexico, a country where soccer is a national sport, has previously hosted the Cup twice, once in 1970 and once in 1986. This will be a good opportunity for Canada to enter the world stage of football once again and it is hopeful that will be chosen as the co-hosts of the championship.
It is expected FIFA will kick off the World Cup with each country playing host to a single game. For the president of the Canadian Soccer Association, Steven Reed, the decision is one that is an extraordinary honour and privilege.
Victor Montagliani, the president of CONCACAF, was key in the bid and called the FIFA vote a huge victory for North America as football gains in popularity. It is expected that Mexico and Canada will each play host to ten games with the United States hosting sixty. However, that is yet to be firm and could be changed to better even out each countries participation and representation.
During a time when Canada, the United States and Mexico are at odds over trade agreements, today, they are as one. During the Canadian, United States and Mexican final presentation to FIFA, the joint bid played a video that detailed their bid, one that includes each country hosting a game on the opening day of the 2026 World Cup.
Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton are the most likely cities to host games. However, it will be FIFA that will choose as many as sixteen host cities from the twenty-three that were proposed in the joint bid. Canadian mayors from two of the proposed host cities, Toronto’s John Tory and Montreal’s Valerie Plante, began celebrating the news with Twitter posts. John Tory tweeted,
— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) June 13, 2018
While it was anticipated that Vancouver would join the list of host cities, they chose to sit out worried over the costs. In the United States, Minneapolis and Chicago also chose to withdraw over the same concerns relating to the financial commitment that would be involved.
The process undertaken by FIFA in the process of selection has undergone a change after the scandal that rocked the governing organisation. Previously, it was only the executive committee of FIFA that decided which country would win its bid. However, now all those that are members have an equal vote in the process with the exception of those countries bidding to host the World Cup.
The new process was instrumental in the joint bid proving successful, and while the selection of the bid was not a landslide, it was enough to see the World Cup once again coming to North American soil.