Canada, Mexico and the USA officially announced their joint-World Cup bid for 2026 at a press conference in New York City on Monday afternoon.
The bidding process will begin in earnest in June, but a final decision will not be made until the FIFA congress in May 2020.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati revealed that the proposal submitted to FIFA would consist of the USA hosting 60 of the tournament’s 80 games - including everything from the quarter-finals onwards - with Mexico and Canada receiving 10 each. The final decision on the split, however, will lie with football’s world governing body.
Gulati added that the bid had the full support of U.S. president Donald Trump despite his inflammatory remarks about Mexico in the run-up to last year’s election.
Canada Soccer and CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani revealed that a joint bid was being worked on in an interview with the Guardian last week. “We have had nothing but positive remarks about it and it is a very strong sign of what football can do to bring countries together,” he said, again not-so-subtly referencing the fractious state of the relationship between the current American and Mexican governments.
At the announcement at One World Trade Center, Gulati and Montagliani both gave the impression that they expected all three host countries to automatically qualify as part of the bid. They did acknowledge, however, that they would have to consult with FIFA on that issue as the World Cup has never been shared between three nations before.
Both the USA and Mexico have previously hosted the tournament and Canada also has the resources to do so alone, but the countries have decided to combine partially as a result of the finals’ looming expansion to 48 teams.
The 1970 and 1986 tournaments were played in Mexico, while the USA welcomed the world in 1994. Since then, Europe (twice), Asia, Africa and South America have all hosted the World Cup, with Russia set to do so in 2018 and Qatar following after that in 2022. Adding to the strength of the joint bid, then, is the fact that a North American tournament will be due.