Trump said to back US-led bid for World Cup 2026

US President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
US President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The football associations of the United States, Canada and Mexico have announced their intention to submit a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup.

The CONCACAF countries confirmed their plan to bring the tournament to North America at a press conference at One World Trade Centre in New York.

US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, Mexico’s Decio De Maria and Canada’s Victor Montagliani announced the unified bid, which would represent the first time three nations jointly host a Fifa competition.

The proposal will see the US host 60 games, with 10 each in Canada and Mexico.

The World Cup was last held in the region at USA 94, while Mexico hosted in 1970 and 1986. Canada hosted the 2015 women’s World Cup.

“Canada has already proven itself as a formidable host for the world’s game, setting Fifa records for attendance at the Under-19 Women’s World Championship in 2002, the Fifa Under-20 World Cup in 2007, and the Fifa Women’s World Cup in 2015,” said Montagliani.

“We look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with fellow CONCACAF member associations under the Fifa Council principles for joint bids and to continue our tradition of hosting record-breaking international events.”

The bid provides a stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s promise to build a border wall between the USA and Mexico.

But Gulati said that President Trump is “supportive” of the bid and had “encouraged” it.

The 2026 tournament will be the first of the new 48-team, 80-game format. The final decision to name the hosts will be made in May 2020.

If successful, it would be the first World Cup to be held in three countries and only the second multi-nation tournament following Japan and South Korea in 2002.

According to Press Association analysis, the US probably has the facilities to host a tournament by itself tomorrow.

But, as Sunil Gulati said, it feels the bid is stronger with three countries on board, and it has the ability to bring the nations closer together, at a time when political relationships between the US and Mexico are not strong.