African Countries Vote Against Morocco's 2026 World Cup Bid

Thursday, 14 Jun, 2018

The leaders of Mexico and Canada gleefully cheered winning the right to host the 2026 World Cup jointly with the United States on Wednesday, emphasizing unity at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has frayed relations with the two neighbors during his 18 months in office.

The "United" bid received 134 of the 203 votes cast at the FIFA Congress in Moscow, while Morocco polled 65.

The United States, Mexico and Canada will host soccer's biggest event in 2026.

MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is expected to host the 2026 World Cup final.

But though U.S. and Mexico have previous experience of hosting the event in 1994 and 1986 respectively, an expanded tournament across three host nations for the first time would appear to pose a major challenge. For instance, Los Angeles may host the USA opener, Dallas is mentioned as a candidate to host the semifinals, while the final match is expected to take place in Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, just outside of New York City.

The USA already possesses the sufficient requirements of world-class stadia and worldwide airports to host the tournament and can boast that when they hosted the World Cup in 1994 they set a record for crowds. The U.S. will join France, Germany, Brazil, and Italy as nations to host the cup twice, while this will be a record third time for Mexico. Canada has never hosted a men's World Cup, though it was the site of the 2015 Women's World Cup.

A joint-bid from the US, Mexico, and Canada, dubbed "United 2026", defeated Morocco's proposal in a landslide vote in Russian Federation on Wednesday.

The joint North American bid was considered a heavy favorite from the outset and earned high marks from FIFA's bid evaluators because it will, in theory, require less construction and lower costs than the Moroccan bid, which carried an estimated price tag above $15 billion. Hasseltine said. "We want to make sure the legacy lives forever and lives long beyond the games' being here".

The qualification places available is expected to be as follows: Europe 16 teams; Africa 9; Asia 8.5, South America 6, Concacaf 6.5, Oceania 1 and, in normal circumstance, one spot for the host nation.

The U.S. previously hosted in 1994 and the potential for a highly lucrative tournament, plus the existing stadiums and infrastructure, likely played a major role in swaying voters.

Organizers had also anxious that the Trump administration's controversial travel ban targeting some Muslim nations could prevent some teams and fans from visiting during the tournament.

According to Yahoo, the bid called for each of the three host nations to play in the opening matches.

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Hosting rights for previous World Cups had been awarded by what was then a 24-person FIFA Executive Committee.

Federation Internationale de Football Association determines how many spots in each World Cup are given to each confederation.

Starting in 2026, there will be 16 groups of three teams, with the top two teams in the group advancing into the expanded round-of-32 knockout stages. It's not clear how that would work with three countries as co-hosts.

Canada has not qualified since 1986, which is the last time the US did not qualify, before 2018.