Could the North America Free Trade Agreement countries of Canada, Mexico and the United States bid for the 2026 soccer World Cup?
A couple months ago it might have been very possible, but the Trump Administration has major differences with Mexico and a three-country bid may not be viable. The United States wants the 2026 matches and has facilities available for the event. The governing body of soccer’s World Cup is acknowledging that hosting the World Cup has become very expensive and that many of the venues for the 2002 South Korea-Japan matches were razed after the event and many of the 2014 Brazilian venues are white elephants.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino is ready to try a different approach. There is also the cloud over FIFA because of various bribery allegations in World Cup bidding. The United States Justice Department and Swiss probes are investigating World Cup media rights and bids for the 2014, 2018 and 2022 events.
“We will encourage co-hosting for the World Cup because we need FIFA to show we are reasonable and we have to think about sustainability long-term,” Infantino said. “It is perfectly in line with our sustainability and legacy to maybe bring together two, three, four countries who can jointly present a project with three, four, five stadiums each. We will certainly encourage it. Ideally the countries will be close to each other for the sake of ease of travel.”
Infantino also knows that cities and countries are shying away from bidding on the mega world events like the World Cup and the Olympics. Boston, Hamburg, Rome and Toronto didn’t want the 2024 Summer Olympics, a Swiss canton has voted against holding the 2022 and 2026 Winter Olympics in that region of Switzerland. The tournament will be awarded in 2020 so there is plenty of time to either heal or deepen divisions.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.