USA learns first details of World Cup 2026 bid process

In a move to take some of the politics out of the World Cup host selection process that ended up with Qatar, politically popular but technically flawed, as the host of the 2022 World Cup, FIFA announced a four-step bid process that will end in May 2020 with its members selecting the host of the 2026 World Cup. The USA is likely to bid, but its chances depend on one last bit of politicking -- determining who is eligible to bid.

As it stands now, only Asian nations are excluded for the 2026 bid process as Qatar will host the previous tournament. A relaxation of the rule implemented in May 2015 by FIFA's executive committee would allow China to bid. China is considered the only country that could beat the USA in a bid race.

Reuters reported, however, that FIFA considered increasing the wait period from eight to 12 years or more and that there were no discussions about allowing a continent to host successive World Cups. (There has been talk -- somewhat far-fetched -- of the Asian Football Federation splitting into East and West Asian confederations that would allow China to get around FIFA bid restrictions.)

FIFA must also decide on the number of teams -- new FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants an expansion to 40 teams -- the format for the tournament, the criteria for human rights and environmental protection and whether to allow joint bids -- another consideration of which Infantino is in favor.

The decision on the 2026 World Cup host was originally expected to be made in May 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, but the bidding process, such as it was, was put on hold following then-FIFA president Sepp Blatter's decision in June 2015 to step down.

A four-step process will be used for the 2026 bid process:

-- Consultation phase during which FIFA will explain its new requirements and standards (until May 2017);
-- "Enhanced phase for bid preparation" (June 2017 to December 2018);
-- Bid evaluation (January 2019 to February 2020);
-- Vote by FIFA members (currently 209) at the FIFA Congress (May 2020).

Perhaps the greatest interest in bidding has come from the USA's neighbors Canada and Mexico though they couldn't match the USA in terms of the number of modern stadiums that could host the tournament.

The delay in the selection process helps the USA immensely. It will give U.S. Soccer's bid committee three years to work with a new administration in Washington and garner the government support it will need for a World Cup bid and ease some of the concerns about FIFA in light of the scandals of recent years.
16 comments about "USA learns first details of World Cup 2026 bid process".
  1. R2 Dad, May 11, 2016 at 12:52 a.m.

    Before Sunil jumps into the fray, he should remember how FIFA offered granted the US rights to host the 94 WC before MLS was even established. Perhaps he can show some graciousness, take a step back and let Mexico or Canada host.

  2. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 11, 2016 at 10:46 a.m.

    Bizarre comment. Always surprised by how anti-American many of the posters are on here. Really strange.

  3. Joey Tremone replied, May 13, 2016 at 12:51 p.m.

    Yeah, I mean, Mexico's never hosted a World Cup before, right? They never stepped in front of the US for 1986 when they'd already hosted in 1970, right?

  4. Ginger Peeler, May 11, 2016 at 1:03 p.m.

    Anti-American? R2 Dad? You're kidding, right? Just because he suggested that our neighboring countries might deserve consideration? Some people call that good sportsmanship. Your "Fire Paul Gardner Now" tag line makes you sound kind of angry. Wouldn't it be easier to just not read his articles? Certainly, there are folks who agree with you, but there are also folks who find his writing thought-provoking and educational. After all, he's been around in the soccer world for a very, very long time. Check him out on Wikipedia. He was writing for Soccer America back when it was just a magazine, long before they went online. And R2 Dad has been posting on this site for quite a few years. Since you're fairly new to the group, you couldn't be expected to know that. This is a wonderful site with some extremely knowledgeable people posting. Very informative. Most are very positive in their support of our national teams. And we all have our own ideas and suggestions for making it better. Some of us have a lot of experience as players and coaches, others are super fans. Over the years, I've come to view us as "family". Give it some time and I think you'll find very few anti-Americans posting here.

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, May 11, 2016 at 4:30 p.m.

    Thanks for your condescending response. I'm familiar with Paul'd drivel. The man is a soccer writer who sounds like he absolutely hates soccer in every article he writes.

    A comment that we should step back and let others host it out of gratitude is anti-American in my view.

  6. Bret Newman, May 11, 2016 at 1:33 p.m.

    Canada would be a horrible place for a World Cup, and I'm half Canadian. I don't care if the United States had it in 1994, we are the perfect country to have it again. It will be even better this time around, because we have soccer specific stadiums, and soccer has grown in popularity. We have a big multicultural country, with lots of money, and corporate sponsorships. Let's be honest. We were cheated out of hosting the 2022, so FIFA owes it to us, and to themselves, if they want to make a lot of money.

  7. Phil Hardy, May 11, 2016 at 1:39 p.m.

    Not sure Canada have the required and appropriate amount of stadia, nor hotels and other infrastructure for a WC. Mexico has had two WC's already. It is our turn to get it, but it's hard to see the US ever getting a WC again for ruining (or attempting to ruin) the FIFA gravy train. I don't see us getting the WC again in my lifetime and I am 51.

  8. B W, May 11, 2016 at 2:16 p.m.

    "It will be even better this time around, because we have soccer specific stadiums, and soccer has grown in popularity."

    None of the World Cup games would be played in a soccer-specific stadium. All of the Copa America games are at NFL stadiums with the exception of the Citrus Bowl which is also a football stadium.

    "We were cheated out of hosting the 2022, so FIFA owes it to us,"

    The US was not cheated. You cannot be cheated when Chuck Blazer was as dirty as anyone at FIFA. He just operated in a country that doesn't care about soccer enough to look the other way, so he ultimately flipped.

    Canada's problem is that their best venue is the home of the Blue Jays. Altering that stadium and reworking the baseball schedule for the tournament seems unfeasible. Laying down grass, and keeping the surface safe, in Montreal's Olympic Stadium would be difficult as well. FIFA is not going to put the World Cup in 20,000-30,000 seat stadiums, so there seem to be real logistical problems with their bid.

  9. Joey Tremone replied, May 13, 2016 at 12:58 p.m.

    The soccer-specific stadiums probably are relevant, though, because they would be good choices for the fan fests.

    And soccer is massively more popular in the US today, which would make a WC much bigger and better than the '94 one was. (As one metric, Americans watched 42 Billion minutes of televised soccer on English-language TV networks last year. This was ten times as large as 12 years before.)

    I take your point to an extent on the bidding process, 'cheating' is relative when everyone there is trying to cheat. Nonetheless, a terrible process produced a terrible choice, and if they were trying to make a good choice, the US would probably have won.

  10. Bret Newman, May 11, 2016 at 2:46 p.m.

    B W, you made your point on a few pros I brought up, but really not the important ones. Basically, it comes down to money, and nobody is a better choice than th United States. Players also like a good country to go to, and they love coming here. It's like a vacation to most players.

  11. Ric Fonseca, May 11, 2016 at 4:03 p.m.

    Folks, many of you have forgotten that in 1995 the US stepped forward and held the Woemn's World Cup after it was yanked from China for health reasons. And Canada had it's hands full in last years Women's WC what with the turf field the ladies had to play on, so let's say what if FIFA gave the folks up north the bid, and installs grass fields, can one imagine the uproar it will cause? And didn't Mexico also step up when FIFA called it to host the Cup after Colombia's internal problems? Lastly as for Chuck Blazer, to say that he blatantly cheated because we did't give a rat's butt about soccer, and "it look(ed) the other way, so he ultimately flipped (sic)"??? Heck, Blazer was already dirty going back to the early 90's just before we got WCUSA94! (You shoulda seen him strutting about in Las Vegas' Ceaser's Palace in December '93 where the final draw was taken!!!) So as for the WC to be held here again, heck I am all for it, I'll even be the historian again!!!

  12. Bob Ashpole, May 11, 2016 at 5:05 p.m.

    Seems apparent to me that the media hoopla about the 2026 selection process is to distract attention from the tainted Qatar selection, as well as a signal that the previous host selections will stand. The vast majority of FIFA members will not care that Qatar bought the selection. What should bother them is that FIFA selected a host country that could not possibly meet the requirements. The fact that Qatar cannot host the tournament on schedule is reason enough to switch to a new host. That is after all what has happened in the past when hosts could not meet the schedule.

  13. Wooden Ships replied, May 11, 2016 at 7:09 p.m.

    Totally agree Bob. Qatar is shameful and it should be denied ASAP. Questioning patriotism isn't helpful and always leaves an aftertaste. I think the US would certainly be the choice if I was voting. The large stadiums are a bit of an issue. Maybe the loss of revenue going to the smaller soccer specific stadiums can be offset somehow?

  14. R2 Dad, May 12, 2016 at 12:27 p.m.

    Has FIFA changed the contract they make host countries sign? Last I recall, FIFA made themselves exempt from taxes. As a fabulously wealthy-but-ethically- challenged organization, FIFA should rescind that clause in order to assist the hosts in paying for the circus that is World Cup. This has not worked out well for the past two hosts (Brazil, South Africa). I assume Russia will manage, but Qatar will have to build the equivalent of a whole new country during a period when oil prices are low.

  15. Wooden Ships replied, May 13, 2016 at 12:03 p.m.

    R 2, not sure why FIFA doesn't help out host countries, except maybe the argument that the countries should profit in the long run. Dubious, yes. FIFA is a mess, I couldn't believe they awarded Russia after Krimea and Qatar was absurd. Hopefully the new FIFA will examine itself and come out new and improved.

  16. ThaRef ., May 13, 2016 at 11:55 a.m.

    With cheers to my fellow WC94 staffer Mr. Fonseca, I am in as well! Let's make it a 32-year reunion.

    Ric, our rescue of the WWC was 2003 not 1995 but I may also get my numbers wrong. I'd read once that our wildly-successful 1994 hosting was the highest-earning WC for FIFA ever, even AFTER the to tournament was expanded to include more teams / matches (was that 1998?). In any case, Alexi is right and we should host it alone (our CONCACAF neighbors can share in the marketing spillover and host training sites and warm-up matches).

    We should have been awarded the 2022 tournament, and many (including I) have held out hope the "new FIFA" would come to their senses and move it from Qatar (a disaster that will happen). We are the natural fit for 2026 by any practical measure. But - one could make the "new frontiers" argument by giving it to China, who certainly has the infrastructure, money, and interest to host.

    We'll see.

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