We’re nearing the finish line to determine who will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The race to stage the biggest sporting event on the planet is being contested between two contenders: Morocco, and a joint effort between Canada, Mexico and the United States, known as the “United Bid.”
After months of deliberation, FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, will vote on Wednesday in Moscow to determine who will host the 2026 World Cup.
Here’s what you need to know…
How the vote works
FIFA will hold the vote on both bids at a special congressional meeting on June 13, the day before the 2018 World Cup in Russia kicks off.
Previously, only FIFA’s 24-member executive board voted. But the World Cup selection process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments (which went to Russia and Qatar, respectively) was so tarnished with allegations of vote-trading and wrongdoing that FIFA changed the voting procedure.
This time around, FIFA’s entire membership will get to vote on the host for the 2026 World Cup. This “one vote per nation” system makes it much harder for corruption to take place in the voting process.
The prospective host countries (Morocco, Canada, Mexico and the U.S.) can’t vote, which means the winning bid needs 104 votes out of the 207 FIFA member nations who will cast a ballot – a simple majority wins.
Voters can cast their ballots for either Morocco or the “United Bid.” They also have a third option: “none of the bids,” which is essentially an abstention. If the “none of the bids” option wins, it would mean the bidding process would re-open to any country, with the exception of the four bidding nations (Morocco, Canada, Mexico and the U.S.). Most observers believe that scenario is incredibly unlikely, though.
Expanded World Cup good for ‘United Bid’
The 2026 World Cup will expand to 48 teams from 32, and will feature a new format of 16 round-robin groups of three teams with the top two from each pool advancing to a 32-nation knockout round. The tournament will still take place over 32 days.
With both Mexico (in 1970 and 1986) and the U.S. (in 1994) having previously staged the World Cup, with Canada coming off a successful job of hosting the 2015 Women’s World Cup – not to mention the collective know-how of the three countries – the “United Bid” would appear to be well-placed to host an expanded World Cup without much trouble.
Another thing that “United Bid” has going for itself is that all of the stadiums are in place. Morocco, on the other hand, has said it will need to spend approximately $16 billion US on infrastructure, which would include building and renovating all 14 stadiums it requires to host the World Cup.
It could be Morocco’s time
Morocco has been here before. The Northern African nation lost bids to host the World Cup in 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010. However, it has successfully hosted the 2013 and 2014 versions of the FIFA Club World Cup, and the 2018 African Nations Championship.
Africa has only hosted the …read more