2026 FIFA World Cup

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2026 FIFA World Cup
Tournament details
Host country TBA
Teams 32 or 40 (TBD)

The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be the 23rd FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial international men's football championship contested by the national teams of the member associations of FIFA.

The tournament, scheduled to take place in 2026, will involve 32 national teams, including that of the host nation, assuming the current format of the finals is maintained, but there have been suggestions to expand the tournament to 40 teams.[1][2] A final decision on expansion has been deferred and can be made only after providing a detailed report into the commercial and footballing implications.[3][4] The proposals, however, have been challenged by the European Clubs Association and its member clubs, citing a lack of consultation.[5][6]

The bidding process was due to start in 2015, with the appointment of hosts previously scheduled for the FIFA Congress on 10 May 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[7][8]

On 10 June 2015, it was announced the bidding process has been postponed, amid corruption allegations around the previous tournaments, due to be held in 2018 (Russia), as well as 2022 (Qatar).[9][10]

Host selection

Map of the World with the six confederations

FIFA's current policy, as decided by the FIFA Executive Committee on 30 May 2015,[11] is that any country may bid for a World Cup, provided that their continental confederation has not hosted the preceding World Cup. For the 2026 World Cup, this means that bids from the Asian Football Confederation (which is to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar) will not be allowed.[12][13] Therefore, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by one of the remaining five continental confederations: CONCACAF (last hosted in 1994), CAF (last hosted in 2010), CONMEBOL (last hosted in 2014), UEFA (to host in 2018), or OFC (never hosted before).

This is a change from FIFA's previous policy, which applied for the 2018 and 2022 bidding process, and allowed any country to bid provided that its confederation has not hosted either of the previous two World Cups.

FIFA will allow joint bids for the 2026 World Cup, as long as the bid has only one organizing committee. The Korea/Japan World Cup bid in 2002 had two different organizing committees, leading FIFA to ban joint bids after the 2002 World Cup.[14]

Bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup is postponed due to the 2015 FIFA corruption case and the subsequent resignation of Sepp Blatter.[15]

Bid process

Following the FIFA Council meeting on 10 May 2016, the bidding process will consist of four phases:[16]

  • May 2016 – May 2017: a new strategy and consultation phase
  • June 2017 – Dec 2018: enhanced phases for bid preparation
  • January 2019 – February 2020: bid evaluation
  • May 2020: final decision

The consultation phase will focus on four areas:

  • The inclusion of human rights requirements, sustainable event management, environmental protection in the bidding
  • Principle of exclusion of bidders that do not meet technical requirements
  • Review of the current stance on joint bids
  • Number of teams

The decision on the number of teams, formats and the eligibility of confederations to bid is expected for October 2016.

Confirmed interest in bidding

North America

In July 2012, Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani confirmed plans for a Canadian bid, saying: "We have verbally told FIFA that when the bid process begins for the next available World Cup, which would be the 2026 World Cup, that the CSA will be one of the countries putting in a formal proposal".[17] At the time the bid was announced, Canada had hosted the men's 1987 Under-16 World Championship and the U-20 World Cups for both men and women; the country has since hosted the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015. In October 2013, Montagliani confirmed Canada's intention to bid for the 2026 tournament.[18] On January 23, 2014, the Canadian Soccer Association confirmed that it is bidding for the 2026 World Cup.[19]
In September 2012, Mexican Football Federation President Justino Compeán confirmed plans for a Mexican bid.[20] Mexico has hosted two previous World Cups in 1970 and 1986. In October 2013, Liga MX President said that Mexico is interested in joining forces with the U.S. to co-host a bid for the 2026 World Cup.[21] On December 9, 2014, the Mexican Football Federation confirmed that it is bidding for the 2026 World Cup.[22]

South America

In March 2010, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe confirmed plans for a Colombian bid.[23] At the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup final, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said "Colombia is ready for a World Cup".[24] Colombia was chosen to host the 1986 FIFA World Cup in 1974, but due to financial problems, was later awarded to Mexico in 1983. The country has since hosted the 2011 Under-20 World Cup and World Games 2013, and will host the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup. In July 2010, Peru also suggested co-hosting with Colombia and Ecuador, and President Uribe reacted positively, saying "every positive proposition has to be welcomed."[25][26] The bid would also form part of the countries National Development Plan.[27] On March 8, 2015, Senator Jorge Espinoza called on President Juan Manuel Santos to begin a "diplomatic offensive" for the bidding process for their right to host the 2026 edition.[28]

Potential bids

Then minister of Youth and Sports, Moncef Belkhayat, said to the French daily Le Figaro: "The African Cup of Nations 2015 will be the first indicator of our ability to host a great event. Then we can confidently consider us as a candidate to host the World Cup 2026".[29][30] However, in November 2014, Morocco refused to host the African Cup of Nations due to the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Morocco lost bids to host the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010 to the United States, France, Germany, and South Africa respectively. This makes Morocco the country to have launched the most bids without ever gaining the hosting rights.
United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati stated the United States will only seriously consider bidding for the 2026 World Cup if the bidding process is more transparent and fair.[31] During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said that he felt there was interest in the United States for hosting the 2026 Cup.[32] FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, “Perhaps there’s a big commercial opportunity arising now in the United States because of the tremendous television audiences that are booming and that the World Cup has also encouraged in its domestic game as well. We did well with football when it first went to the United States but the opportunities are bigger now."[33] The United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup and unsuccessfully bid for the 2022 World Cup, which was won by Qatar in 2010. On 18 April 2015, Brazilian icon Pele stated that the US should host the 2026 World Cup.[34] USA hosting the World Cup in 2026 would coincide with the nation's 250th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence.[35]
On 13 May 2016 at the FIFA Congress in Mexico City, USSF board member John Motta told ESPN "whatever happens, we will bid for the 2026 World Cup -- either jointly (with Mexico) or we will go it alone."[36] However, Gulati contradicted this report the following week, saying "We haven't made a decision about the (2026) World Cup. Until we know what the rules are of the bid process -- which won't be until October at the earliest -- we're not going to be making a decision. And we certainly haven't had any formal discussions with the Mexican federation at this point."[37]
On 24 March 2015, Football Association (FA) chairman Greg Dyke announced a possible bid for the 2026 World Cup, however, this was dependent on whether Sepp Blatter remained the chairman of FIFA. Dyke declared that "we don't bid while Mr Blatter's there".[38] This is due to England losing out to Russia for the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup, in what Dyke called a corrupt bidding process, stating that "I don't think it [FIFA] is a straight organisation and hasn't been for many years."[39] England last hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup. On 2 June 2015, Blatter announced that he would resign as FIFA President.[40]
On 13 April 2015, former New Zealand Cricket CEO and head of the Tourism Industry Association NZ, Martin Snedden proposed a possible New Zealand and Australia joint bid for either the 2026 or 2030 FIFA World Cup. Australia had also unsuccessfully bid for the 2022 World Cup.
Snedden’s vision was for both the Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Football Confederation working together to achieve the event. Snedden recognized there would be plenty of hurdles to leap. On the idea of a potential bid, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the decision on such a bid would be "a long way away".[41]
On 22 May 2012, Azerbaijan Minister of Sports Azad Rahimov proposed a joint bid from Turkey and Azerbaijan for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.[42]
On 13 December 2014, Mayor of Astana Adilbek Zhaksybekov announced a possible bid from Kazakhstan.[43][44]

Broadcasting rights

FIFA has come in for criticism for the way Fox was awarded the rights: there was no tender process, the network receiving the rights in order to placate it regarding the move of the 2022 World Cup (which it has the rights to) from summer to winter time, during the last few weeks of the National Football League regular season. Due to the lack of a tender, FIFA lost revenue. According to the BBC's sports editor Dan Roan, "As ever, it seemed, FIFA was looking after itself."[48]

Notes and references

  1. "Michel Platini calls for 40-team World Cup starting with Russia 2018". the Guardian. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  2. "BBC Sport - Michel Platini's World Cup expansion plan unlikely - Fifa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  3. "World Cup could grow to 40 teams as Fifa unveils raft of reforms". BBC News. 3 December 2015. 
  4. "World Cup on brink of being expanded to 40 teams from 32". The Telegraph. 3 December 2015. 
  5. "European clubs threaten resistance to Fifa’s World Cup expansion plan". The Guardian. 4 December 2015. 
  6. "Europe's top clubs slam Fifa plan to expand World Cup". The Telegraph. 4 December 2015. 
  7. "2022 FIFA World Cup to be played in November/December". FIFA.com. 20 March 2015. 
  8. "FIFA defers decision on continental rotation for WCup bids". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. 25 May 2015. 
  9. "Fifa 2026 World Cup bidding process delayed". BBC News. 10 June 2015. 
  10. "FIFA Statement on 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding". FIFA.com. 10 June 2015. 
  11. "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup™ confederation slots maintained". FIFA.com. 30 May 2015. 
  12. "Rotation ends in 2018". FIFA.com – News Centre. 2007-10-29. 
  13. "Fifa abandons World Cup rotation". BBC SPORT. 2007-10-29. 
  14. "Blatter: There's indescribable anticipation". FIFA. 2010-06-07. 
  15. "Scandal-plagued FIFA postpones 2026 World Cup bidding". ABC News. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  16. "FIFA Council agrees on four-phase bidding process for 2026 FIFA World Cup". FIFA.com. 10 May 2016. 
  17. "Canadian Soccer Association to bid for 2026 World Cup". CBC, Ben Rycroft. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  18. "The race is on: Canada continues to plan on bid for 2026 World Cup". mlssoccer.com. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  19. "Canada to bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup". CBC. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  20. "Mexico to bid for 2026 World Cup". ESPN, Press Association. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  21. "Report: Mexico would team up with USA to host 2026 World Cup tournament". MLS Soccer. 
  22. "Buscará México la sede del Mundial 2026". Milenio. Retrieved 10 December 2014. 
  23. "Colombia quiere organizar un Mundial". 
  24. "Colombia está preparada para una Copa Mundial de mayores, dijo Blatter". 
  25. Roorda, Jonathan (July 14, 2010). "Peru wants to host World Cup with Colombia and Ecuador". Colombia Reports. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  26. "Peru aims to co-host 2026 World Cup with Ecuador, Colombia". Andina. July 13, 2010. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  27. "Presentan en el Senado propuesta para que Colombia sea sede del Mundial 2026" (in Spanish). El Nuevo Dia. 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-05. 
  28. http://www.bnamericas.com/news/infrastructure/colombian-senator-calls-on-country-to-step-up-campaign-for-2026-world-cup1
  29. "Le Maroc veut organiser la Coupe du monde en 2026". Le Figaro, Guillaume Errard. 24 March 2011. 
  30. "المغرب يترشح لتنظيم مونديال 2026". Eurosport, Hamad Mousa. 2013-09-05. 
  31. "Sunil Gulati says US Soccer will bid to host 2026 World Cup if FIFA clarifies process". New England Sports Network. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 
  32. "FIFA leaders reveal that USA could make bid for 2026 World Cup". Fox Sports. 4 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  33. "FIFA President Sepp Blatter says 2026 World Cup probably should be in the United States". The Washington Post. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  34. "Pelé: US deserves World Cup", New York Post, April 18, 2015.
  35. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/usa/11486936/World-Cup-2026-United-States-dream-of-celebrating-250th-anniversary-of-independence-with-World-Cup-final.html
  36. "United States, Mexico in talks for joint 2026 World Cup bid, supported by FIFA". ESPN FC. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  37. "Soccer chief says U.S. is not discussing joint World Cup bid with Mexico". Los Angeles Times. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  38. "England could consider 2026 World Cup bid - Greg Dyke". BBC Sport. BBC. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  39. Corless, Liam (24 March 2015). "Greg Dyke: England will consider bid to host 2026 World Cup - but only if Sepp Blatter is gone". Irish Mirror. Irish Mirror. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  40. "FIFA President to lay down his mandate at extraordinary elective Congress". FIFA. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 
  41. "NZ's plan to host a FIFA World Cup (with Oz!)". socceroos.com.au. Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  42. "2026 Dünya Kupası için Türkiye-Azerbaycan!". ntv.com.tr. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  43. DPA (13 December 2014). "Kazajistán quiere albergar el Mundial de 2026". Sport. Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  44. "Kazakhstan eyes bid for 2026 World Cup". Retrieved 24 January 2015. 
  45. Sandomir, Richard. "Fox, Telemundo and Univision to Show World Cup Through 2026 as FIFA Extends Contracts". The New York Times. February 12, 2015.
  46. "FIFA extending TV deals through 2026 World Cup with CTV, TSN and RDS". The Globe and Mail. February 12, 2015.
  47. Parker, Ryan. "2026 World Cup TV rights awarded without bids; ESPN 'surprised'". Los Angeles Times. February 13, 2015.
  48. "Qatar 2022: World Cup fall-out could tear football apart". BBC. Retrieved 25 February 2015.