2026 FIFA World Cup
|Teams||32, 40 or 48|
The bidding process was due to start in 2015, with the appointment of hosts previously scheduled for the FIFA Congress on 10 May 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On 10 June 2015, it was announced the bidding process has been postponed, and the bidding process will resume in 2020, amid corruption allegations around the previous tournaments, due to be held in 2018 (Russia), as well as in 2022 (Qatar).
FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced that he backed an expansion of the tournament to 48 national teams, including that of the host nation. This new format of the finals, raised from the previous 32 team format, was announced 4 October 2016. Infantino stated that the planned format of 40 teams in groups of four or five teams and his proposed 48-team format are on the table.
The proposal for expansion has been challenged by the European Clubs Association and its member clubs, citing a lack of consultation. For German national team coach Joachim Löw, he warned that expansion, as it was done for Euro 2016, will dilute the value of the world tournament because players have already reached their physical and mental limit.
The decision on the number of teams, formats and the eligibility of confederations to bid was expected for October 2016, in that month the number of teams was set at 48. There are four options for the 2026 tournament:
- Keep the existing 32-team structure, 64 matches overall
- Expand to 40 teams (8 groups of 5 teams), 80/96 matches overall
- Expand to 40 teams (10 groups of 4 teams), 80/96 matches overall
- Expand to 48 teams (16 seeds joined by 32 winners of a play-off round), 80 matches overall
The FIFA Executive Committee (now the FIFA Council) decided on 30 May 2015 that any country could bid for a World Cup provided that their continental confederation had not hosted the preceding World Cup. For the 2026 World Cup, this meant that bids from the Asian Football Confederation (which is to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar) would not be allowed. Later, in October 2016, the FIFA Council approved the general principle that member associations from continental confederations of the last two hosts of the FIFA World Cup (i.e. the AFC and UEFA, the latter being due to host the 2018 World Cup in Russia) will be ineligible to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup; however, the FIFA Council will have the power to grant eligibility to member associations of the confederation of the second-to-last host of the FIFA World Cup (i.e. UEFA) and open the bidding process to any interested MAs from this confederation in the event that none of the received bids fulfil the strict technical and financial requirements.
It was also approved that co-hosting of the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be permitted, not limited to a specific number, but evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and that for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the FIFA general secretariat, after consultation with the Competitions Committee, will have the power to exclude bidders who do not meet the minimum technical requirements to host the competition. Joint bids had been banned by FIFA after the 2002 World Cup.
Therefore, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by one of the remaining four confederations: CONCACAF (last hosted in 1994), CAF (last hosted in 2010), CONMEBOL (last hosted in 2014), or OFC (never hosted before), or potentially by UEFA in case no bid from those four meets the requirements.
Under the initial decision, there would be a change from FIFA's previous policy, which applied for the 2018 and 2022 bidding process, and allowed any country to bid provided that its confederation had not hosted either of the previous two World Cups. However, the revised decision effectively means that this policy remains the same, except for the chance for potential eligibility of the second-to-last hosting confederation.
Bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup was postponed due to the 2015 FIFA corruption case and the subsequent resignation of Sepp Blatter, then restarted following the FIFA Council meeting on 10 May 2016, wherein the bidding process will consist of four phases:
- May 2016 – May 2017: a new strategy and consultation phase
- June 2017 – Dec 2018: enhanced phases for bid preparation
- January 2019 – February 2020: bid evaluation
- May 2020: final decision
The consultation phase will focus on four areas:
- The inclusion of human rights requirements, sustainable event management, environmental protection in the bidding
- Principle of exclusion of bidders that do not meet technical requirements
- Review of the current stance on joint bids
- Number of teams
Confirmed interest in bidding
CONCACAF member federations (Canada, Mexico, United States) are favoured to host the 2026 World Cup for the first time since 1994 World Cup. Also, FIFA's president Infantino will consider the option for triple co-hosting by Canada, Mexico and the United States. On 14 October 2016, FIFA said it will accept CONCACAF triple tournament-sharing bid by Canada, Mexico and the United States.
- In July 2012, Canadian Soccer Association president Victor Montagliani confirmed plans for a Canadian bid, saying: "We have verbally told FIFA that when the bid process begins for the next available World Cup, which would be the 2026 World Cup, that the CSA will be one of the countries putting in a formal proposal". At the time the bid was announced, Canada had hosted the men's 1987 Under-16 World Championship and the U-20 World Cups for both men and women; the country has since hosted the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2015. In October 2013, Montagliani confirmed Canada's intention to bid for the 2026 tournament. On 23 January 2014, the Canadian Soccer Association confirmed that it is bidding for the 2026 World Cup.
- In September 2012, Mexican Football Federation President Justino Compeán confirmed plans for a Mexican bid. Mexico has hosted two previous World Cups in 1970 and 1986 (Colombia had been chosen to host the 1986 tournament, but due to economic problems, Mexico was awarded as the new host). In October 2013, Liga MX President said that Mexico is interested in joining forces with the U.S. to co-host a bid for the 2026 World Cup. On 9 December 2014, the Mexican Football Federation confirmed that it is bidding for the 2026 World Cup. If the campaign is successful, Mexico will be the first nation to have hosted the World Cup three times.
- On 13 May 2016 at the FIFA Congress in Mexico City, USSF board member John Motta told ESPN "whatever happens, we will bid for the 2026 World Cup -- either jointly (with Mexico) or we will go it alone." Previously, United States Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati stated the United States would only seriously consider bidding for the 2026 World Cup if the bidding process is more transparent and fair. During the 2014 FIFA World Cup, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke said that he felt there was interest in the United States for hosting the 2026 Cup. FIFA President Sepp Blatter said, “Perhaps there’s a big commercial opportunity arising now in the United States because of the tremendous television audiences that are booming and that the World Cup has also encouraged in its domestic game as well. We did well with football when it first went to the United States but the opportunities are bigger now." The United States hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup and unsuccessfully bid for the 2022 World Cup, which was won by Qatar in 2010. On 18 April 2015, Brazilian icon Pele stated that the US should host the 2026 World Cup. The U.S. hosting the World Cup in 2026 would coincide with the nation's 250th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence.
- In March 2010, Colombian President Álvaro Uribe confirmed plans for a Colombian bid. At the 2011 FIFA U-20 World Cup final, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said "Colombia is ready for a World Cup". Colombia was chosen to host the 1986 FIFA World Cup in 1974, but due to financial problems, was later awarded to Mexico in 1983. The country has since hosted the 2011 Under-20 World Cup, World Games 2013 and the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup. In July 2010, Peru also suggested co-hosting with Colombia and Ecuador, and President Uribe reacted positively, saying "every positive proposition has to be welcomed." The bid would also form part of the country's National Development Plan. On 8 March 2015, Senator Jorge Espinoza called on President Juan Manuel Santos to begin a "diplomatic offensive" for the bidding process for their right to host the 2026 edition.
- On 13 April 2015, former New Zealand Cricket CEO and head of the Tourism Industry Association NZ, Martin Snedden proposed a possible New Zealand and Australia joint bid for either the 2026 or 2030 FIFA World Cup. Australia had also unsuccessfully bid for the 2022 World Cup.
- Snedden’s vision was for both the Asian Football Confederation and Oceania Football Confederation working together to achieve the event. Snedden recognized there would be plenty of hurdles to leap. On the idea of a potential bid, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the decision on such a bid would be "a long way away". However, Football Federation Australia promptly dismissed the idea of a joint bid, saying Australia was not currently interested in bidding. Nonetheless, conversations with the New Zealand government would continue.
- Then minister of Youth and Sports, Moncef Belkhayat, said to the French daily Le Figaro: "The African Cup of Nations 2015 will be the first indicator of our ability to host a great event. Then we can confidently consider us as a candidate to host the World Cup 2026". However, in November 2014, Morocco refused to host the African Cup of Nations due to the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. Morocco lost bids to host the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010 to the United States, France, Germany, and South Africa respectively. This makes Morocco the country to have launched the most bids without ever gaining the hosting rights.
- On 13 December 2014, Mayor of Astana Adilbek Zhaksybekov announced a possible bid from Kazakhstan. Football Federation of Kazakhstan president Yerlan Kozhagapanov stated the government plans to bid for the 2026 World Cup.
- On 22 May 2012, Azerbaijan Minister of Sports Azad Rahimov proposed a joint bid from Turkey and Azerbaijan for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
FIFA has come in for criticism for the way Fox was awarded the rights: there was no tender process, the network receiving the rights in order to placate it regarding the move of the 2022 World Cup (which it has the rights to) from summer to winter time, during the last few weeks of the National Football League regular season. Due to the lack of a tender, FIFA lost revenue. According to the BBC's sports editor Dan Roan, "As ever, it seemed, FIFA was looking after itself."
Notes and references
- "World Cup: FIFA president Gianni Infantino proposes 48-team tournament". cnn.com. CNN. 4 October 2016.
- "New Fifa chief backs 48-team World Cup". HeraldLIVE. 7 October 2016.
“It’s an idea, just as the World Cup with 40 teams is already on the table with groups of four or five teams.”
- "World Cup: Europe barred by Fifa from bidding for 2026 tournament". BBC. 14 October 2016.
- "2022 FIFA World Cup to be played in November/December". FIFA.com. 20 March 2015.
- "FIFA defers decision on continental rotation for WCup bids". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. 25 May 2015.
- "Fifa 2026 World Cup bidding process delayed". BBC News. 10 June 2015.
- "FIFA Statement on 2026 FIFA World Cup bidding". FIFA.com. 10 June 2015.
- "Michel Platini calls for 40-team World Cup starting with Russia 2018". The Guardian. 28 October 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "BBC Sport — Michel Platini's World Cup expansion plan unlikely — Fifa". BBC Sport. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "European clubs threaten resistance to Fifa's World Cup expansion plan". The Guardian. 4 December 2015.
- "Europe's top clubs slam Fifa plan to expand World Cup". The Daily Telegraph. 4 December 2015.
- "Low confirms opposition to 40-team World Cup". sbs.com.au. Australian Associated Press. 2 October 2016.
- "Current allocation of FIFA World Cup™ confederation slots maintained". FIFA.com. 30 May 2015.
- "FIFA Council discusses vision for the future of football". FIFA.com. 14 October 2016.
- "FIFA blocks Europe from hosting 2026 World Cup, lifting Canada's chances". CBC. Associated Press. 14 October 2016.
- "Scandal-plagued FIFA postpones 2026 World Cup bidding". ABC News. Retrieved 2015-06-11.
- "FIFA Council agrees on four-phase bidding process for 2026 FIFA World Cup". FIFA.com. 10 May 2016.
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- World Cup 2026 may be co-hosted in North America after FIFA says it will accept tournament-sharing
- Ben Rycroft (6 July 2012). "Canadian Soccer Association to bid for 2026 World Cup". CBC. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
- "The race is on: Canada continues to plan on bid for 2026 World Cup". mlssoccer.com. Major League Soccer. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
- "Canada to bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup". CBC. The Canadian Press. 23 January 2014.
- "Mexico to bid for 2026 World Cup". ESPN. Press Association. 21 September 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
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- Roorda, Jonathan (July 14, 2010). "Peru wants to host World Cup with Colombia and Ecuador". Colombia Reports. Retrieved February 25, 2014.
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- "Presentan en el Senado propuesta para que Colombia sea sede del Mundial 2026" [Proposal for Colombia to host the 2026 World Cup presented in the Senate] (in Spanish). El País (Cali). 2015-03-04. Retrieved 2015-03-05.
- "Colombian senator calls on country to step up campaign for 2026 World Cup". Business News Americas. 6 March 2015.
- "NZ's plan to host a FIFA World Cup (with Oz!)". socceroos.com.au. Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 13 April 2015.
- "Australians not interested in FIFA World Cup bid". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- Guillaume Errard (24 March 2011). "Le Maroc veut organiser la Coupe du monde en 2026" [Morocco to host the World Cup in 2026]. Le Figaro.
- Hamad Mousa (2013-09-05). "المغرب يترشح لتنظيم مونديال 2026" [Morocco candidate for organizing the 2026 World Cup] (in Arabic). Eurosport.
- "Kazajistán quiere albergar el Mundial de 2026". Sport.es. DPA. 13 December 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "Kazakhstan eyes bid for 2026 World Cup". menafn.com. Saudi Press Agency. 14 December 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- "Kazakhstan considering bid to host 2026 World Cup". ESPN FC. PA Sport. 31 March 2015.
- "2026 Dünya Kupası için Türkiye-Azerbaycan!" [Turkey-Azerbaijan for the 2026 World Cup!] (in Turkish). ntv.com.tr. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- Sandomir, Richard (February 12, 2015). "Fox and Telemundo to Show World Cup Through 2026 as FIFA Extends Contracts"". The New York Times.
- "FIFA extending TV deals through 2026 World Cup with CTV, TSN and RDS". The Globe and Mail. February 12, 2015.
- Parker, Ryan. "2026 World Cup TV rights awarded without bids; ESPN 'surprised'". Los Angeles Times. February 13, 2015.
- "Qatar 2022: World Cup fall-out could tear football apart". BBC. Retrieved 25 February 2015.