The vote: How the
That United 2026 won was perhaps not a surprise, but the margin of victory was. The federations representing the USA, Canada and Mexico won with overwhelming support: 134 votes vs. 65 for Morocco.
The North American bid was always considered the favorite but concerns were raised about how the United States was viewed around the world in the Trump era. The bid decision came only three years after the FIFA Congress before which the first arrests of soccer executives were made in a corruption case pursued by Federal authorities against more than 40 individuals and companies.
A change in U.S. Soccer's leadership also resulted in a change in the United 2026 bid committee's leadership with new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, Canadian Soccer Association president Steve Reed and Mexican federation president Decio De Maria serving as co-chairpersons in place of Sunil Gulati, who was pushed aside after he chose not to run for re-election as U.S. Soccer president following the USA's failure to qualify for the World Cup.
Cordeiro was a big winner with Wednesday's vote. He traveled
extensively to lobby for United 2026 support while others believed he should get to work on the process of rebuilding and unifying American soccer after a contentious election.
The three federation presidents were joined by youth stars Brianna Pinto, Alphonso Davies and Diego Lainez in making the case for United 2026 in Moscow.
FIFA clearly favored United 2026 over Morocco as the scoring of the bid task force set out. Morocco, which has now lost in five bids to host the World Cup, was a last-minute entry. Its bid emphasized the short distances fans would have to travel to games -- a maximum of two hours -- and its proximity to Europe in a play for UEFA's 55 members.
The vote was conducted by FIFA's member associations for the first time and made public for the first time. The USA lost to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup hosting rights in a controversial vote of the FIFA executive committee eight years ago.
The four bidders -- USA, Canada, Mexico and Morocco -- as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands did not take part in the voting. Spain, Slovenia and Cuba abstained. Iran voted for "none of the above."
In a surprise, Russia supported the North America bid. The Morocco supporters included Brazil, the lone country from the Americas that went for the North African nation.