The entire FIFA Congress set the rules, regulations and bidding timeline for the 2026 World Cup host decision on Thursday, and it's one that favors the U.S., Mexico and Canada joint bid.
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FIFA usually awards World Cups six or seven years ahead of time, but they're moving it way up this time around because the U.S., Mexico and Canada bid asked for an expedited process.
Now the timeline for the bidding will be as follows:
- August 11, 2017: Any country that wants to host must submit their interest in joining the bidding.
- Match 2018: All bidder must submit their bid book, which has to show that they can meet all technical requirements to host the tournament.
- June 13, 2018: The FIFA Congress vote will take place to award the host of the 2026 World Cup.
What are the technical requirements?
FIFA hasn't finalized the exact details of the technical requirements every bidder must meet, but they will include the following (from U.S. Soccer):
Stadium and infrastructure requirements, principles of sustainable event management, human rights and environmental protection, and details on aspects such as governmental support documents, the organizational model to be adopted and provisions for the establishment of a legacy fund.
In the past, critics have said that the technical requirements were simply guidelines and bidders didn't have to meet any real bar. That will not be the case this time, with any bidders who fall short in the above categories being barred from the vote.
Will there be other bidders?
So far, the U.S., Mexico and Canada joint bid is the only bidder. FIFA has barred European and Asian bids for 2026, so the only bidders can come from Africa, South America and Oceania. South America and Oceania have already thrown their support behind the North American bid, so there is no telling if anyone will even join the competition. The expedited process, requiring bids be submitted in just three months, makes things all the more difficult on any competitors.
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Did the North American bid get everything they wanted?
Not quite. In addition to the expedited bid process, the U.S., Mexico and Canada bid asked for an exclusive window where, if they could show they met FIFA standards, they would automatically be awarded the 2026 World Cup. FIFA decided not to grant them that, citing the need to have an open bid.
Still, with the expedited timeline and limited (or perhaps non-existant) competing bids, there is no doubt that the North American bid is the heavy, heavy favorite to be awarded the 2026 World Cup in June.