The biggest World Cup tournament the earth has ever seen will be held in 2026 – right here in North America.
On the eve of the men’s 2018 FIFA World Cup opening match in Russia, soccer’s world governing body FIFA awarded the right to host the men’s 2026 World Cup to the United Bid featuring Canada, Mexico and the United States. It will be the first World Cup tournament held across three nations, featuring an expanded field of 48 teams and a record 80 matches.
The North American unified bid defeated the lone competing bid from Morocco, winning the first-ever public vote involving all 203 eligible FIFA member nations by a 134-65 tally, claiming 67 percent of the vote. The four bidding nations (Canada, Mexico, Morocco and the USA) were not permitted to vote, while the federations of Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands recused themselves.
The United Bid scored higher than Morocco in FIFA’s technical report released earlier in June – North America earned an evaluation of 4 out of 5 compared to Morocco’s 2.7 out of 5. Both bids made one final presentation to the FIFA Congress in Moscow just before the vote.
The 2026 edition will be the second World Cup hosted on US soil, and the first one in 1994 still holds the record for the most tickets sold and the most revenue ever generated in addition to leading to the launch of Major League Soccer just two years later. Mexico has served as host on two occasions – in 1970 and 1986 – while Canada has never hosted the men’s World Cup.
Back in December 2010, the United States lost a bid for the 2022 World Cup following a secret ballot held among the 24 members of the FIFA executive committee which awarded the World Cup to Qatar. That voting process was tainted by charges of corruption and wrongdoing, eventually leading to an overhaul of the FIFA voting procedure to include greater transparency.
“The decision to host World Cup 2026 in Canada, Mexico and the United States is a testament to our three nations coming together for the United Bid, and a monumental step in our collective mission to further advance the game of soccer in North America,” read a statement from Major League Soccer.
“We congratulate all of those who worked tirelessly to bring the World Cup back to North America and thank the countries that voted for the United Bid, and for their belief in our vision for the future of the sport in our region," continued the MLS statement. "There is no doubt that World Cup 2026 will elevate the sport of soccer to entirely new levels and Major League Soccer is honored to be a part of this joyous day.”
Simon Borg is the editor-in-chief of MLSsoccer.com.