Sports US, Canada, Mexico beat Morocco to host 2026 World Cup
The United States, Mexico and Canada have won the right to host the 2026 World Cup after easily beating Morocco in a vote by FIFA member nations on Wednesday.
The 2026 World Cup will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico after they beat Morocco by a margin of 69 votes to host the tournament which will be expanded to 48 teams for the first time.
At the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow on Wednesday, the North American bid received 134 of the 203 votes of member nations, while Morocco polled 65 in the ballot at a FIFA Congress held in Moscow on the eve of the 2018 World Cup.
Canada, Mexico, Morocco and the US were exempt, while Ghana was absent after the country’s government said it had disbanded its football association amid allegations of “widespread” corruption.
Football’s showpiece event will return to the North American continent for the first time since 1994 when the United States hosted the tournament. Of the 16 host cities, 10 will be in the United States while the remainder will be split evenly between Canada and Mexico.
Sixty matches will take place in the US, while Canada and Mexico will host 10 games each.
The final will be held at the 84,953-capacity MetLife Stadium, which is home to NFL sides the New York Giants and the New York Jets.
The United States-led bid was judged by a FIFA taskforce to be vastly superior to its North African rivals on technical grounds, with a total of 23 stadiums, already built or under construction, at its disposal. Morocco, while enticing some federations with its commitment to fan engagement in a footballing nation, would have had to build or renovate all of the 14 stadiums in its bid book.
Delegates had been faced with a clear choice as the joint North American bid boasts of modern, established stadiums and well-developed transport links underpinned by Mexican football fervour.
Morocco, on the other hand, promised a “European” World Cup in Africa, playing on the north African nation’s proximity to Europe.
But compared to North America, Morocco’s bid existed largely on paper — many stadiums and roads would have had to have been built and critics questioned how it would have coped with the 2026 tournament, which will be expanded to 48 teams.
FIFA inspectors classified the north African nation’s stadiums, accommodation and transport as “high risk”, awarding it just 2.7 out of five in an evaluation report, with concerns raised over several critical aspects.
They warned “the amount of new infrastructure required for the Morocco 2026 bid to become reality cannot be overstated”.
The report made the US-Canada-Mexico bid the clear favourite after rating it four out of five, and Morocco was not able to bridge the gap.