The National Federations of Canada, Mexico and the United States have officially formed a United Bid Committee to kick off the bidding process to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to North America. Uniquely suited to handle the expanded format of a 48-team tournament, this unprecedented joint bid will be best positioned to unite the world in celebrating the biggest sporting event on the planet.
A total of 10 members of the Board of Directors have already confirmed. The members of the Board of Directors include representatives from the three member federations and CONCACAF, and include: Sunil Gulati (Chairman), Steven Reed (Canada), Peter Montopoli (Canada), Decio De Maria (Mexico), Guillermo Cantu (Mexico), Carlos Cordeiro (USA), Donna Shalala (USA), Dan Flynn (USA), Don Garber (USA),and Victor Montagliani (CONCACAF).
“Canada Soccer is pleased to take this important step in our collaboration with Mexico and the United States for our united bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup with the formation of the United Bid Committee,” said Reed. “We are confident that the collective expertise and experience of the Committee members will result in a world class bid worthy of the world’s most popular sport.”
As part of the launch, Canada Soccer General Secretary Peter Montopoli has been appointed Canada Bid Director and Televisa Vice President Yon De Luisa as Mexico Bid Director. In addition, John Kristick has been hired as the Executive Director for the United Bid Committee for the three CONCACAF member federations, and is joined by Jim Brown as Managing Director, Technical Operations.
“We are thrilled to kick off the bid process with our partners from Canada and Mexico. This is a special opportunity for North America to unite behind our sport of soccer and the quest to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” said Sunil Gulati, Chairman of the United Bid Committee. “The United Bid Committee has the experience and resources to deliver a successful bid, but it will require an enormous team effort over the next eight and half months so we can demonstrate to FIFA the full potential of our three nations and partners in CONCACAF to put on the finest World Cup in history.”
The deadline for the submission of the formal bid to FIFA is March 16, 2018. With less than nine months remaining and anticipating a record number of cities that will compete to serve as official host cities, the Bid Committee will begin formal outreach to cities and stakeholders immediately. The collaboration between all levels of government along with the business and soccer communities will be critical to demonstrate to FIFA that the first World Cup to be held in the CONCACAF region since 1994 should be awarded to Canada, Mexico and the United States.
“For my country today is a very important day,” said De Maria. “These three countries will be very happy to receive the rest of the world and to validate that football allows us to unite countries, that it is a celebration, and that we will receive all those who want to come to enjoy this great party. Offering the possibility for Mexico to organize a third World Cup is very special.”
The three nations have hosted 13 FIFA World Cups combined (men’s, women 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.
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 1.35 million spectators attended matches while more than 20 million Canadian viewers watched the competition on television.
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 attended 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.
FIFA has established a deadline of August 11 for member associations to confirm their intention to compete to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. All competitors must then submit a bid proposal for consideration by the FIFA Congress next June.