Delayed U.S. World Cup 2026 venue bid process kicks off on Tuesday

When FIFA awarded the USA, Canada and Mexico the hosting rights to the 2026 World Cup in June 2018, on the eve of the World Cup in Russia, the plan was for the U.S. host cities to be approved by May 2020, at this year's FIFA Congress.

Then, the evaluation process was pushed back. The original plan was for FIFA to visit the U.S. bid cities twice -- once in March of this year and again in November.

A bid workshop was scheduled for March 17-18 in Dallas, but that was postponed as the coronavirus had just forced U.S. business to shut down. (FIFA managed to get in workshops in Canada and Mexico before the pandemic hit.)

Finally, the 17 U.S. cities bidding to host World Cup games will get to hear from FIFA as they will be presented a virtual overview of the selection process on Tuesday.

The city groups will get an outline of the areas FIFA will focus on in assessing their candidacies and the rules and procedures relating to the selection process. Later, FIFA and U.S. Soccer will hold virtual one-on-one sessions with each bid city group and conduct on-site visits.

FIFA's chief tournaments and events officer, Colin Smith, is in charge of the selection process on behalf of the FIFA, and working with former U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, who is overseeing the U.S. city selection process. Flynn had been the Chicago venue officer at the 1994 World Cup.

The expected breakdown of the first 48-team World Cup in history is three host cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto), three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey) and 10 in the United States.

FIFA already conducted workshops in Canada and Mexico before the pandemic hit. The original plan was for FIFA to visit the U.S. bid cities twice -- once in March and again in November.

In the successful World Cup 2026 bid against Morocco, these 17 U.S. cities were presented as potential host cities (and the latest matches they might host):

U.S. bid cities:
Atlanta (semifinal)
Baltimore (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Boston (semifinal)
Cincinnati (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Dallas (semifinal/final)
Denver (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Houston (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Kansas City (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Los Angeles (opening game/final)
Miami (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Nashville (quarterfinal/third-place game)
New York/New Jersey (opening game/final)
Orlando (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Philadelphia (quarterfinal/third-place game)
San Francisco Bay Area (semifinal)
Seattle (quarterfinal/third-place game)
Washington D.C. (semifinal)
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