Representatives from the U.S., Mexico and Canada soccer federations made a historic announcement Monday afternoon, confirming the three CONCACAF nations will be submitting a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati was joined in New York by Mexico's Decio De Maria and Canada's Victor Montagliani at the top of One World Trade Center to publicly declare their intention of bringing the world's largest soccer competition to North America.
"This is a milestone day for U.S. Soccer and for CONCACAF," Gulati said. "We gave careful consideration to the prospect of bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and ultimately feel strongly this is the right thing for our region and for our sport.
"Along with our partners from the Canadian Soccer Association and the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol, we are confident that we will submit an exemplary bid worthy of bringing the FIFA World Cup back to North America. The United States, Mexico and Canada have individually demonstrated their exceptional abilities to host world-class events.
"When our nations come together as one, as we will for 2026, there is no question the United States, Mexico and Canada will deliver an experience that will celebrate the game and serve players, supporters and partners alike."
2026 FIFA World Cup™: @CanadaSoccerEN, @ussoccer & @FMF will submit a unified bid - https://t.co/Aok5gFV1Lthttps://t.co/gC7TIENEbT pic.twitter.com/w26yv5CRXK — Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) April 10, 2017
Europe and Asia are out of the bidding race because countries from those regions are set to host the next two World Cups (Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022). No African nations have shown interest in hosting, while South America held the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.
The 2026 World Cup will be the first edition in the new 48-team, 80-game format. While making the joint bid announcement, Gulati said the U.S. would host 60 games, with Mexico and Canada receiving 10 matches apiece. In addition, Gulati noted that the U.S. would host all matches from the quarterfinal onward, and that the host country for the opening game is still under consideration.
Mexico hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986 before the U.S. hosted the 1994 tournament — the most recent World Cup in CONCACAF. Canada, which has never hosted the World Cup but found success with the 2015 Women's World Cup, made its only appearance in 1986.
The World Cup, which occurs every four years, has only had multiple countries co-host the event once before. Back in 2002, Japan and South Korea teamed up to bring the World Cup to Asia for the first time.
FIFA announced last year that bids will be evaluated from January 2019 to February 2020, with the decision coming in May 2020.