The FIFA World Cup could be coming to Canada, as well as the United States and Mexico, according a report from the Guardian newspaper in England on Thursday.
“Canada, the US and Mexico are aiming for a joint bid, the idea has been around for a while, discussions are continuing and it is a very exciting proposition if it comes to fruition,” CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani told the Guardian. “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.”
The plan for a joint bid with the three countries is for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, which aligns with a story Daily Hive published in January.
There are a number of reasons why the 2026 World Cup makes sense for the three countries. To begin with, for the first time since the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, FIFA is allowing multi-country bids.
The 2026 World Cup will also see the number of teams in the global tournament rise from 32 to 48. That puts an extra financial strain on any country hoping to bid on the tournament.
On top of this, FIFA has recently added a rule that countries from confederations that have hosted the last two World Cups are ineligible from hosting. With Russia hosting in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, countries from Europe, Asia, and Australia (a member of the Asian Confederation since 2005) are ineligible for the 2026 tournament.
Globally, that leaves a small field to choose from. North American, South American, African, and Oceanian countries (other than Australia) are eligible, but very few of them are capable of hosting.
A move to North America for the first time since 1994 seems inevitable.
From a Canadian perspective, having Montagliani in charge at CONCACAF, a job he’s held since last year, gives Canada a strong voice at the table. Still president of the Canadian Soccer Association, Montagliani was someone who helped bring the Women’s World Cup to Canada in 2015.
Unlike our women’s team, Canada has not proven itself worthy of playing in the global tournament since 1986. The Canadian men are currently ranked 109th in the world by FIFA, although that puts them not far behind Qatar (#89 in the world), who will host on their own in 2022.
Evaluation of countries’ suitability by FIFA is scheduled to begin in January of 2019, and continuing until February 2020.