The United States, Mexico and Canada will host soccer’s biggest event in 2026.
North America’s “United” bid secured the World Cup hosting rights after a vote by FIFA member nations today (June 13). It beat competition from Morocco by securing 134 votes (including 11 from Africa) compared to 65 for the North African nation. The tournament has been jointly hosted only once before, by Japan and Korea in 2002.
The loss is Morocco’s fifth in a World Cup bidding process after previous tries in 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010. The country’s hopes of becoming the second African country to host the cup after South Africa in 2010 hit a bump last week when a FIFA task force scored the bid 2.7 out of 5 following an inspection. Stadiums, accommodation and transport were all deemed “high risk” but Morocco said it had plans to spend up to $16 billion to shore up its deficits ahead of the tournament.
The United bid had the strength of existing sports, hotel and transport infrastructure. Venues for the United bid will be picked from existing stadiums or new ones under construction. Morocco would have needed to build nine stadiums and renovate five others. And given that the 2026 tournament will be the first to host 48 teams—16 more than traditionally, infrastructure was a crucial factor.
The United bid also offered FIFA the prospect of higher profits: $11 billion compared to Morocco’s $5 billion. Those numbers are crucial to courting votes of FIFA member nations, which get a share of the body’s revenues.
While Canada has never hosted—or even qualified for—the men’s World Cup, it can count on its more experienced co-hosts and current NAFTA partners. The United States hosted the tournament in 1994 while Mexico has hosted in 1970 and 1986.