A combined bid from the United States, Canada, and Mexico soundly defeated a competing proposal from Morocco to win the right to host the 2026 World Cup.
In a vote held in Moscow on Wednesday, the member nations of FIFA voted 134 to 65 in favor of the North American bid, choosing for the first time to allow three nations to share hosting duties for the tournament.
Iran chose to vote for neither option, while Cuba, Slovenia, and Spain abstained from the vote.
US Soccer Gets a Much-Needed Win
The result was a huge win for the United States, which had lost out on the right to host the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in a controversial vote that was marred by accusations of corruption and vote buying.
“Thank you for the incredible privilege,” US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said after the vote. “Football today is the only victor.”
The United States will host the majority of games in the tournament. The expanded 48-team format will require 80 games in total; 60 will take place in the USA, while Canada and Mexico will each host 10. All of the knockout games from the quarterfinals on are also scheduled to be in the US, with the final likely to be played at MetLife Stadium just outside of New York City.
The North American bid was always the favorite to win the vote. In a FIFA evaluation of the suitability of the two bids, the joint effort was judged to be superior in virtually every technical aspect, largely because Morocco lacked the infrastructure to host such a large event.
Still, there were a few signs that suggested the Moroccan delegation could pull off an upset. There were concerns that global sentiment against Donald Trump might push some federations towards Morocco, especially after Trump started tweeting about the bid. At one point, he even seemed to threaten nations that weren’t supportive of the joint proposal.
Joint Bid Receives Broad Global Support
But on Wednesday, the final vote wasn’t all that close. The North American bid was dominant in every region of the world with the exception of Africa, where 41 of 52 voting nations supported Morocco. The four countries bidding for the right to host the tournament were not allowed to vote.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber called the result “an exciting day” for both the host countries and soccer around the world.
“This decision that just came down from Moscow to allow our region to host the World Cup in 2026 is a testament to how our three nations came together for an unprecedented united bid,” Garber said in a video released soon after the results were announced. “It’s a monumental step in our collective mission to further advance the game of soccer here and to do what we can to grow the game around the world.”
It hasn’t been decided yet whether all three host nations will receive automatic bids into the 2026 World Cup. In the expanded format, CONCACAF will get six full bids, with a seventh team playing off against a team from another region for a spot in the tournament.
While both Mexico and the United States would be heavy favorites to qualify under those conditions, Canada’s fate would be less certain: the Canadians have failed to reach the final six-team qualifying round in the region in each of the last five World Cup cycles.