FIFA votes to award 2026 World Cup bid to US, Canada and Mexico

World Today

FIFA President Gianni Infantino speaks at the end of the FIFA congress in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

On the eve of the World Cup kick off in Russia, there was much anticipated vote from FIFA. It awarded the 2026 tournament to the joint-bid from the United States, Canada and Mexico. That means for the first time, the competition will be hosted in three countries.

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

It was the moment the ‘United 2026’ World Cup dream became a reality.

“We have a winner for the 2026 World Cup, the member associations of Canada, Mexico and USA have been selected by the FIFA Congress to host the 2026 World Cup,” announced FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

An employee holds up a scarf with the hashtag for World Cup in 2026 at Soccer Canada Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario on June 13, 2018, as Canada will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Mexico and the US. (AFP PHOTO / Lars Hagberg)

The joint bid of the U.S., Mexico and Canada saw off competition from Morocco to win the hosting rights for the 2026 FIFA tournament. There had been suggestions the race would be close, but in the end, United triumphed by 134 votes to 65.

“I’m sorry it’s a bit emotional for us today. On behalf of our united bid, Canada, Mexico and my country the United States, thank you so so much for this incredible honor,” said Carlos Cordeiro, president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. “Thank you for entrusting us with the privilege, this privilege, of hosting the FIFA World Cup of 2026.”

Brian Bilello, Boston 2026 World Cup bid chair and president of the New England Revolution soccer team, faces reporters during a news conference Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

A billboard for Atlanta’s MLS soccer team stands next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium where the team plays in Atlanta, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The 2026 tournament promises to be the biggest World Cup ever, with 48 teams playing 80 matches. The key selling point is that the bid would generate $11 billion in profits for FIFA.

There had been concerns that simmering political tensions between the countries could undermine the ‘United’ bid. The point was alluded to in the news conference.

Picture taken at the headquarters of the Mexican Football Federation (Femefut in Spanish) in Toluca, Mexico, on June 13, 2018 day in which FIFA announced the United States, Mexico and Canada will host the 2026 World Cup. (AFP PHOTO / Mario VAZQUEZ)

“I think at the end of the day the power and the unity, the unity of the three nations coming together offering what no one nation including my own can provide today. I think that was a very very powerful message,” Cordeiro said.

In the end, it was a comprehensive victory for the United bid. They can now begin the process of organizing the 2026 tournament.  Meanwhile, this is the fifth time Morocco has missed out in the World Cup bidding process. Despite that record, Moroccan officials are promising to try again.

In this Saturday March 17, 2018 file photo, a giant screen displays the logo of Morocco 2026 before a press conference to promote Morocco’s bib for the 2026 soccer World Cup in Casablanca, Morocco. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar, file)

“Of course we are disappointed a little bit. But I think it is a sports competition, it’s not politics. I think we didn’t succeed. As you know, Morocco presented its candidature – this is the fifth time – so, it will be a sixth time,” said Abdelkader Lecheheb, the Moroccan Ambassador to Russia said.

Regardless, the news is a blow to Morocco and African football. However, for football fans in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, the game’s showpiece event is on its way.

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