The United States, Canada and Mexico have won the right to host the 2026 World Cup, defeating Morocco who had put in a rival bid to host the soccer tournament. The announcement comes as delegates from 203 countries convened to cast their votes to pick a winner in Russia ahead of the commencement of the 2018 games.
The United bid got 134 votes while Morocco got 65 votes. The former was considered a favorite among the FIFA taskforce after it noted that these countries were ready with their infrastructure to host the tournament. FIFA 2026 will be one of the biggest World Cup ever with 48 countries playing 80 matches over 34 days.
This was the first time that FIFA used a scoring system- developed by a taskforce- to provide an accurate picture of what each contender could contribute. As per the scoring system, United bid got 4.0 points while Morocco earned 2.7 points. The tournament is estimated to net revenues worth $14 billion if the US, Canada and Mexico host it while staging of the tournament in Morocco could have resulted in profits worth $7.2 billion.
Morocco will need massive investment to host a tournament of this scale, FIFA taskforce had previously warned. But Moroccan bid was based on the fact that most host cities were located much closer to each other than the venues mentioned within United bid, where visitors had to travel between countries.
The United bid was also potentially favored due to FIFA’s efforts to smooth down the previous controversial bids that were mired with corruption allegations. The US was also a contender for the 2022 World Cup host rights, which it lost to Qatar.
But the latest election of the host city has also not been totally devoid of controversies. Earlier this week US President Donald Trump issued a veiled threat to countries that could potentially oppose the United bid. This in turn invited a rebuke from FIFA governing body which pointed out against any political lobbying that could impact the awarding of the bid.
Both Mexico and the US have hosted World Cups previously. Mexico had hosted the tournament in 1970 and 1986 while the US played host in 1994.