FIFA has outlined a revised schedule for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ bidding process which could confirm the host nations as early as the 68th FIFA Congress in June 2018. The proposal was approved by the 211 member associations at this year’s FIFA Congress in Manama, Bahrain on 11 May.
Canada, USA, and Mexico have partnered to put together a joint CONCACAF Member Association bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. The historic unified bid represents the first time that three nations would jointly host a FIFA competition, which in 2026 will be the largest FIFA World Cup with an expanded 48-nation, 80-match schedule.
The three nations have hosted 13 FIFA World Cups combined (men’s, women’s and youth), which is more than any other trio of geographically-connected nations, and set attendance records for five of those events. The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first with the expanded 48-team format, requiring facilities and infrastructure that these countries are uniquely suited to fulfill.
“The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ is an exciting opportunity for Canadian Soccer,” said Steve Reed, Canada Soccer President. “We’ve hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ which was arguably the most successful in history. As a country, we are very proud of our ability to host major events and we unequivocally know that we would help make a great success of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.”
As identified in Canada Soccer’s Leading a Soccer Nation Strategic Plan for 2014-18, partnering to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ provides Canada Soccer with the opportunity to both grow the sport in our nation and showcase Canada as a country that is rich in natural beauty and proud of its cultural diversity with a strong passion for the world’s game.
Canada hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, which featured an expanded 24-nation field with matches played in six cities in five time zones. With record-setting attendance for any FIFA event outside of the men’s FIFA World Cup™, over 1.35M spectators attended matches while more than 20 million Canadian viewers watched the competition on television.
FIFA has approved a 90-day window by which candidate host associations can submit their proposals for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. The 11 August 2017 deadline provides member associations from CAF (Africa), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania), and CONCACAF a window to submit a bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ based on the specific regulations to be issued by the FIFA Council.
“Canada Soccer will be ready with its partners at the appropriate time to assemble the technical bid as instructed by FIFA,” said Peter Montopoli, Canada Soccer General Secretary. “The opportunity of hosting a FIFA World Cup will elevate the sport’s footprint in this country, through the matches themselves and the global interest and promotion that the FIFA World Cup will deliver from coast to coast to coast across Canada.”
As part of the bidding process, the list of high-level hosting requirements to be requested by FIFA include: stadium and infrastructure requirements; principles of sustainable event management, human rights and environmental protection; and details on aspects such as governmental support documents, the organisational model to be adopted, and provisions for the establishment of a legacy fund.
Canada has hosted five FIFA tournaments, a record shared alongside Mexico amongst all FIFA member associations. At the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship Canada 2002, a record 47,784 attending the final (still the largest attendance at a FIFA women’s youth competition). Five years later, Canada then drew a record 1.2-million fans for the 52-match FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007. Canada bettered that record eight years later at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, setting the highest attendance for a FIFA competition outside the men’s FIFA World Cup.