US, Mexico, Canada launch joint football World Cup bid

Plus, the recent travel bans that USA president Donald Trump has tried to enact could also work against the CONCACAF joint bid - how will fans, players and officials travel freely between all three countries if they're potentially not allowed to enter the United States?

If the bid is accepted, it would be the first time that three countries jointly host a FIFA World Cup.

Under current Federation Internationale de Football Association rules, bids from Europe and Asia are not eligible for 2026 since Russia is already preparing to host in 2018 and Qatar will stage the event in 2022.

The CONCACAF trio confirmed their plan at a press conference on Monday at One World Trade Centre in NY.

"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", Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria said through a press release.

Announcing the bid, USA chief Gulati said three quarters of the tournament's matches would be staged in the United States, with Canada and Mexico hosting 10 games each.

The 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan was the first and only edition of the tournament to be co-hosted, but 2026 is set to be a historic event for the tournament in both size and scope. The U.S. would get 60 games while Mexico and Canada would have 10 each.

United States of America and Mexico have previously hosted the tournament separately, with the U.S. doing so in 1994 and Mexico staging 1970 and 1986.

But Gulati touted the financial clout of the North American bid.

"We have full support of the United States government in this project". What's more, the proposal calls for the stage every game from the quarterfinals onward.

"He is fully supportive of the joint bid, encouraged the joint bid, and is especially pleased with the fact Mexico is participating in the joint bid". Even perennially bad Canada?

Here's how the United States, Mexico and Canada would share the 2026 World Cup. The expansion will begin after the World Cups in Russian Federation and Qatar.

The three-country host format also raises the question of who will automatically qualify. So far no other countries have announced plans for a 2026 bid. Canada staged a widely-praised women's tournament two years ago.

Gulati said the issue of host qualification is ultimately up to the FIFA Council, but added: "What I can say is there has never been a World Cup where the host country or host countries have not been automatically qualified for the World Cup".

There are no shortage of stadiums that would be a capable World Cup venue.

  • Elsie Buchanan