USA-Mexico joint 2026 World Cup bid? Not so fast!

FIFA's release of an outline for a four-step process to be used for the 2026 World Cup bid process prompted speculation about just who might bid. FIFA president Gianni Infantino went one step further and suggested he'd be open to joint bids, which in turn led to talk of a bid by two or more of Concacaf's three biggest economic powers, the USA, Canada and Mexico.

ESPN even quoted John Motta, the USASA president who was in Mexico City for the FIFA Congress as a U.S. Soccer representative, as saying the USA and Mexico had discussed joining forces to stage the tournament. Motta was also quoted as saying U.S. Soccer was very open to the idea of a joint bid." ESPN FC went on to quote Motta as saying if a joint bid could not be arranged, the USA would bid on its own.

That was a curious statement as it would seem to be the reserve -- the USA would only seek a joint bid with Mexico if it thought it could not win on its own. Simply put: the USA doesn't need Mexico or, for that matter, Canada, which would also love to bid for the tournament.

Mexico would seek out a joint bid because on its own it has no chance of winning a "technical" showdown -- the merits of its stadiums and infrastructure proposed in a bid -- with the USA for the same reason that Mexico has little chance of getting an NFL team despite the huge market of football (yes, football, not futbol) fans residing in Mexico. (Only five U.S. cities have more NFL fans than Mexico City.)

Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president of International, told Wired that the amount of technical information and technology infrastructure required to organize an event has grown exponentially and hinder the chances of the league moving into Mexico, or any foreign country for that matter.

“The stadiums in Mexico were essentially, other than the new Monterrey one [Estadio BBVA Bancomer opened in 2015], built for the World Cup and the Olympics 50 years ago,” he said. "Until more modern venue options exist, it doesn’t matter how massive the fan base is."

Waller forgot Guadalajara's Estadio Chivas, which opened in 2010, but his point holds.

For U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, that's all beside the point as the U.S. Soccer won't decide whether to bid until it knows the lay of the land -- who is the USA's competition, what are the technical and financial requirements, what FIFA wants to get out of its 2026 host. Gulati was burned the last time when the USA lost to Qatar in a bid it believed it should have won, and he won't green-light a 2026 effort unless he's convinced the USA will win.

“We haven’t made a decision about the [2026] World Cup," he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "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.”
3 comments about "USA-Mexico joint 2026 World Cup bid? Not so fast!".
  1. Kenneth Barr, May 20, 2016 at 12:46 a.m.

    First we're talking about 2026, infrastructure improvements don' take forever. However, does the USA and Mexico want to get that closely involved with FIFA's gang that can't shoot straight? Really?

  2. ROBERT BOND, May 20, 2016 at 8:17 a.m.

    as opposed to going to what safer/less politically incorrect venue,
    Ken? Still may bail on Paris next month........

  3. Kevin Leahy, May 20, 2016 at 10:50 a.m.

    The USA should go it alone or not at all!

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